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Banking Operations

Banking Operations
Edition 4
September 2008
Banking Operations

Published by
The Chartered Institute of Bankers in Scotland
Drumsheugh House
38b Drumsheugh Gardens
Edinburgh EH3 7SW

Written by Colin Watson BA, FCIBS


Verified by Stuart Waterson BA (Hons), MCIBS, Airdrie Savings Bank
Editing and typesetting by Keystone Business Associates, Glasgow

The Chartered Institute of Bankers in Scotland has taken all reasonable measures to ensure
the accuracy of the information contained in this book and cannot accept responsibility or
liability for errors or omissions from any information given or for any consequences
arising.

© The Chartered Institute of Bankers in Scotland, September 2008


No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted
in any form or by any means – electronic, electrostatic, magnetic tape, mechanical,
photocopying, recording or otherwise, without permission in writing from The Chartered
Institute of Bankers in Scotland.
Banking Operations

Banking Operations

1 Banker/Customer Relationships 7
Introduction 8
What is a bank? 8
What is a customer? 9
The relationship between banker and customer 11
The Banking Code 16
Review 21

2 An Outline of Bank Services 25


Introduction 26
Savings and investment accounts 26
Current accounts 28
Savings accounts 32
Lending facilities 33
Money transmission and payment services 35
Share dealing services and advice 41
Investment advice 42
Investment and portfolio management 43
Executor and trustee services 43
Insurance and assurance 44
Safe custody services 45
Travel facilities 45
Review 50

3 Customers 57
Introduction 58
Personal customers 58
Business customers 65
Sole traders 65
Partnerships 66
Limited companies 71
Clubs, associations and societies 75
Trustees 76
Review 80
Banking Operations

4 Operating Customer Accounts 87


Introduction 88
Opening accounts 88
Operations on customers’ accounts 90
Closing accounts 92
Death of a customer 94
Control of accounts 96
Collections and recoveries departments 100
Review 108

5 Cheques 113
Introduction 114
What is a cheque? 114
Attachment of funds 118
Crossed cheques 119
Truncation 120
The role of the paying banker 121
The role of the collecting banker 125
System for clearing cheques 127
Review 133

6 Plastic and Electronic Banking 137


Introduction 138
Telephone and online banking 138
Telephone banking 139
Online banking 142
Electronic Funds Transfer at Point Of Sale (EFTPOS) 143
Electronic funds transfer – CHAPS 144
Credit cards 144
Charge cards 147
Review 149

7 Lending 153
Introduction 154
What is lending? 154
The canons of lending 155
Credit scoring 160
Lending products offered by banks 164
The Consumer Credit Act 171
Review 176

8 Securities for Advances 181


Introduction 182
Why does a bank take security? 182
Direct security and third party security 183
Attributes of a good security 184
Types of security 186
Guarantee 186
Standard security 191
Banking Operations

Assignation of a life policy 196


Pledge of marketable securities 201
Bond and floating charge 203
Pledge of a cash deposit 204
Discharge of security 205
Review 208

Answers to Question times 213


Answers to Multiple choice questions 221
Glossary 223
Index 229
Banking Operations
Banker/Customer Relationships 7

1 Banker/Customer
Relationships

Objectives

By the end of this chapter, you should be able to:

• Explain what the functions of a bank are.

• Define what is meant by a bank customer.

• Outline the banker/customer relationship.

• Describe the purpose and content of the Banking Code.


8 Banking Operations

Introduction

In this chapter we will start by discussing what a bank is. You will see that this is a
more difficult task than might appear at first, although some statutes can help us. We
will then move on to consider when a person becomes a bank customer and referring
to some of the relevant case law for guidance. The next topic is the banker/customer
relationship when we will examine the duties of both the banker and the customer.
The chapter concludes with an overview of the Banking Code, an area you may already
be familiar with through your current employment.

Quick question

Write down your definition of a bank.

Write your answer here before reading on.

What is a bank?

This may have seemed like a simple question to answer on the surface, but more
difficult once your tried to commit your thoughts to paper! We all know what a bank
is: an organisation that borrows money from one group of people and then lends the
money to another group of people. So, that’s a bank, or is it possibly also a building
society or a credit union? Both of these types of institutions also borrow from their
depositors and then lend the money borrowed to other customers. What therefore is
the difference between a bank and a building society or a credit union? What is the
difference between a bank like the RBS Group and Sainsbury’s bank?

We must also consider the other services provided by a bank. Not everyone who
uses the services of a bank deposit money with them or borrow money from them.
Perhaps the question is not so simple after all? It may come as a surprise to learn that
the best legal minds have found it difficult to arrive at a definition which covers all the
business activities transacted by a bank.

You may wonder why it is important that it is clear what type of business is a bank
and which is not; after all, everyone has a rough idea of the type of business that is
carried on by a “bank”. As you progress through this course and through your career,
you will come across situations where “banks” are provided with protection in certain
circumstances. For example, when we look at cheques, you will discover that a bank
obtains certain protection when it is dealing with a customer. It is therefore important
to know what exactly a bank is and what a customer is.

Some Acts of Parliament, called statutes, have made reference to the main activities
and features of a bank. Some definitions are more useful than others. The Bills of
Exchange Act 1882, which is a very important statute in relation to cheques, states that
a “banker” includes a body of persons who carry on the business of banking!
Banker/Customer Relationships 9

The definitions provided in some court cases do not take us much further forward.
For example, one case determined that a bank is an organisation whose main business
consists of the receipt of money on deposit repayable on demand by cheque. This
definition is rather outdated and focuses on the provision of a current account which
is only part of the business of banking. The definition does not cover all of the activities
or the full range of services provided by a bank.

By now it is becoming clear that what at first glance appeared to be a very simple
question is not really such an easy question to answer. Prior to April 1979, the
definition of banking was neither precise nor final, but it was widely accepted that a
person or establishment could not come within the definition of a bank unless the
principal, or at least a substantial part of the business, consisted of receiving money
for credit of a current account which the depositor might withdraw on demand by
cheque.

The Banking Act 1979 introduced a formal system of supervision of “banking” and
prohibits any person – with certain exceptions – from accepting deposits in the course
of carrying on a business. The Act also introduced the terms “recognised bank” and
“licensed deposit taker” to make a distinction between institutions and the range of
services they provided. It also set a minimum capital requirement for banks of £5
million and £1 million for licensed deposit takers.

The Banking Act 1987 gave further powers of authorisation and regulation to the
Bank of England but changed the definition of “recognised bank” and “licensed
institution” to one of “authorised institution”. This was further changed when the
Bank of England Act 1998 was introduced, transferring the powers of authorisation and
regulation of UK banks to the Financial Services Authority (FSA). The Financial Services
and Markets Act 2000 strengthened the powers of the FSA even further.

Interestingly there is no definition of a “bank” in the Financial Services and Markets


Act 2000. Instead the FSA publishes a list of regulated firms which businesses and the
public would think of as banks. This is something that the Bank of England (until May
1998) and the FSA (from June 1998 until November 2001) used to publish under the
Banking Act 1987. Details of these “authorised institutions” can be found in the web
pages of the Financial Services Authority [www.fsa.gov.uk].

With a few exceptions, it is illegal to accept deposits from the public unless
authorisation has been received from the FSA. Any persons wishing to set up as a
bank must firstly seek the permission of the FSA which requires completion of an
application pack under what is known as Part IV Permission procedures. The vetting
procedures are very stringent and are designed to ensure that the consumer is
protected from unscrupulous businesses setting themselves up as deposit takers. The
FSA still requires a minimum capital structure, now defined as €5 million.

What is a customer?

Having struggled to arrive at a satisfactory definition of a bank, hopefully we will


have an easier job in defining a customer. Again we can look to decisions in court
cases – case law – to point us in the right direction. One case determined that the term
“customer” implied a course of dealing or a habit of calling at the bank from time to
time; another that some sort of account must be maintained.
10 Banking Operations

This seems straightforward enough, but what about someone who has just opened
an account with the bank? How often must this person call at the bank before being
classed a customer? It would seem obvious that as soon as someone has opened an
account with a bank, he or she immediately becomes a customer.

Case studies

This view was confirmed in the case of Ladbroke and Company -v- Todd, 1914
(which is considered in the section on cheques) the judgement of which decreed
that the relationship of banker and customer begins as soon as an account is
opened and the first cheque is paid in and accepted by the banker for collection
and not merely when the cheque has been paid.

In Great Western Railway Co -v - London and County Banking Co, 1901 it was
held that a person is not a customer unless he has some sort of an account, either
a deposit or current account or some similar relation with the bank.

In Taxation Commissioners -v- English, Scottish and Australian Bank, 1920, it


was held that a person becomes a customer as soon as he opens an account.

In the case of Woods -v- Martins Bank, 1959, it was held that a person could
become a customer even before he had opened an account, if it was his intention
to open one and he subsequently did so.

Woods -v- Martin’s Bank, 1959

The plaintiff, Woods, a young man without business experience, was considering
an investment in Brocks Refrigeration Ltd, a private company banking with a
branch of the defendant bank. He sought the advice of the branch manager and
was told that the investment would be a wise one, the company being financially
sound. Acting on this advice he invested £5,000 in the company and
subsequently, having opened an account at the same branch, invested further
funds on the manager’s advice.

Unknown to the plaintiff, the company’s account was heavily overdrawn


throughout this period and the branch manager was under considerable
pressure from the District Head Office to have the debt reduced. Eventually, the
plaintiff lost nearly £16,000 and brought an action against the bank and the
manager for fraud or negligence.

It was held that the manager’s advice was grossly negligent but not fraudulent.
The bank was liable for the negligent advice given and its plea that it was no
part of its business to give investment advice was rejected after examination of
its advertisements.

The plaintiff had become a customer of the bank from the time the instructions
to make the first investment had been accepted although the current account
was not opened until nearly one month later.
Banker/Customer Relationships 11

The banker/customer relationship is deemed to begin:

As regards an account holder

• as soon as the bank opens an account for someone (with the intention that the
relationship be permanent). In the case of the Great Western Railway Co -v-
London and County Bank Co Ltd it was held that the cashing of cheques over a
long period of time for a person who had no account with the bank did not
make him a customer.

As regards any other banking service

• as soon as the bank agrees to provide that service (for example advice on
investments as in Woods -v- Martins Bank).

The relationship between banker and customer

Early thinking on the relationship between a bank and its customer was that a banker
was a custodian of the customer’s funds. This type of thinking implies however that
the customer will receive the same notes and coins as they paid in initially and if
correct, would restrict the banker’s ability to deal with the customer’s funds as it saw
fit and to onlend the funds to other customers.

It was eventually agreed that the basic relationship between a banker and customer
was that of debtor and creditor. In the case of Royal Bank of Scotland -v- Skinner 1931,
it was held that the banker is not merely the custodian of money, as when money is
paid in it is used by the bank for the purposes of its business and that the bank
undertakes an obligation to repay an equivalent amount.

The relationship between banker and customer is one of contract, although when
an account is opened no formal contract is entered into. In the next chapter we’ll look
in detail at the relationships that exist between a bank and its customers as customers
take advantage of the many services offered by a bank.

Quick question

What do you think are the conditions that must be met if the banker is to honour the customer’s
cheques?

Write your answer here before reading on.

The banker’s duties

When we looked at the definition of a bank, it was apparent that the main business of
banking in the legally defined sense is the receipt of money withdrawable by cheque.
It follows from this that the bank’s principal duty is to honour customers’ cheques on
demand.
12 Banking Operations

The bank must honour its customers’ cheques provided that:

• there are sufficient available funds in the account of the customer who has issued
the cheque

• the cheque is technically in order (that is, it has been signed, the amount in
figures is the same as the amount in words, etc)

• there is no legal or other impediment preventing the banker from making


payment.

Bankers would therefore be in breach of their basic duties to customers if they


wrongfully dishonoured cheques. It is therefore the duty of the banker to ascertain
beyond any doubt that a customer has insufficient funds before refusing payment of
a cheque or returning a cheque unpaid.

Another duty of the banker is that of secrecy which is an important feature of the
banker’s relationship with the customer. A bank must not disclose any details of its
dealings with a customer, even after the customer no longer maintains an account
with the bank. The duty of secrecy applies just as much to an account in the name of
an individual vis-à-vis his or her spouse as with any other account. If a banker were
therefore faced with a request from a customer to be advised of the balance on her
husband’s account, the request should be politely declined; otherwise the bank could
be liable to the husband in an action for damages.

There are four circumstances when a bank is permitted, and in some cases
compelled, to divulge information concerning its customers’ affairs. The circumstances
which impinged on a banker’s duty of confidentiality were set out in the judgement in
the case of Tournier -v- National Provincial and Union Bank of England, 1924 and are:

1 where disclosure is under compulsion by law

2 where there is a duty to the public to disclose

3 where it is in the interests of the bank to disclose information

4 where the disclosure is made with the consent of the customer.

Quick question

Who do you think is empowered to order bankers to give evidence?

Write your answer here before reading on.

■ Disclosure under compulsion of law

The exemption under compulsion by law may be divided into three headings:

• disclosure under compulsion of a court order

• disclosure to an official who is statutorily entitled to compel disclosure

• disclosure where there is an onus on the bank to disclose information.


Banker/Customer Relationships 13

The first category includes the Bankers Books Evidence Act 1879. An order under this
Act is probably the most familiar example of disclosure under compulsion by law.
The Act was not designed to enforce bankers to give evidence before the courts but
to deal with the form in which evidence may be given and to avoid the
inconvenience of a bank being deprived of its books during court cases.

Orders under the Act are usually given by a judge of the Court of Session or by a
sheriff and, although they empower the pursuer or defender to take copies of
relevant entries in the bank’s books, in practice the bank will provide the copies
and certify them in terms of the docquet contained in the Act.

A party to legal proceedings can apply to court for leave to inspect and take copies
of entries in a banker’s books for the purposes of such proceedings. This power
applies to an account of a person (or a company) who is also party to the litigation
or that of a person closely connected with the litigation. This provision applies to
both civil and criminal proceedings, although it has largely been superseded by
more recent statutes with regard to criminal investigations.

The power applies to entries in a banker’s books (which includes records of the
customer’s transactions, details of cheques, etc) but does not extend to
correspondence between the bank and its customer, nor to paid cheques and
paying-in slips retained by the bank after the conclusion of any transaction.

Other statutes relevant to this heading are:


• The Value Added Tax Act 1983
• The Companies Act 1985 as amended by the Companies Act 1989
• The Insurance Companies Act 1982
• The Insolvency Act 1986
• The Taxes Management Act 1986
• The Income and Corporation Taxes Act 1988
• The Criminal Justice Act 1987
• The Pensions Schemes Act 1993
• Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 1987 (as amended by the Criminal Justice Act 1993)
• Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act 1989
• Drug Trafficking Act 1994
• Proceeds of Crime Act 1983
• Terrorism Act 2000 (as amended by the Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001)
• Social Security Fraud Act 2001

■ Duty to the public to disclose

In the Tournier case it was said that many instances of such a duty might be given,
but the judges did not actually give any, except to refer to another case “where
dangers to the State or public duty may supersede the duty of agent to principal”.
Thus, where in a time of war the customer’s dealings indicated trade with the
enemy, a duty to disclose could arise.

However, there is no duty to give information to the police about a customer


suspected of a crime, but the bank cannot plead in this way if the end result is to
conceal fraud. It has been established that the police must show they have a real
interest in the account, and are not just trawling for information which may or may
not help them.
14 Banking Operations

■ Where it is in the interests of the bank to disclose

Where there is court action between the bank and its customer some disclosure
about the customer’s affairs will be necessary.

■ Where disclosure is made with the consent of the customer

Where a customer has given their express consent, there can obviously not be a
breach of secrecy, but this authority should be in writing. For instance, a customer
may authorise the bank to provide his accountant with banking details in order to
assist the accountant to complete accounts.

Until the major banks introduced a new status enquiry system with effect from
28 March 1994, it had been a long held view that when a customer entered into a
banker/customer relationship with a bank, the banker had the customer’s implied
authority to respond to enquiries about the customer’s status and financial standing
provided the enquiry was received from another banker or certain trade protection
societies or other organisations. It was not the practice to respond directly to
individuals or businesses.

The new system introduced certain procedural changes. Individuals or businesses


wishing to obtain a banker’s opinion now send their request direct to the bank
concerned. That bank responds direct to the enquirer rather than channel the reply
through the enquirer’s bankers. However, reliance is no longer placed on the
implied authority of the customer to respond to status enquiries and the bank will
only reply to an enquiry with the express consent of the customer who is the subject
of the enquiry.

You may have encountered this situation where, for example, you have obtained
credit from a finance company, say to assist with the purchase of a car, and they
wish to obtain an opinion from your bank.

The banking industry introduced model forms of combined enquiry and consent
forms and most banks now charge the enquirer for providing this service. People
who submit status enquiries can either pay by means of plastic card or by cheque.

If the enquirer does not understand the reply to his status enquiry, he is free to ask
his own bank to express a view as to the meaning of the response, that is through
experience and knowledge of how the responses are framed; a bank can usually
decode the message.

The customer’s duties

The customer owes certain duties to the bank. The customer should ensure that when
cheques are issued there are sufficient funds in the account, or at least a suitable
overdraft has been arranged in advance to enable the cheques to be paid when
presented to the bank. If a bank pays a cheque on which the signature of the customer
is forged, it will be unable to debit the customer’s account.

Similarly, if a cheque has been altered and the alteration has not been authenticated
by the customer, then in some circumstances the bank will not be able to debit the
customer’s account. The customer has a duty, however, to ensure that cheques are
issued in a manner which does not facilitate alteration and that, in the event of the
customer becoming aware that his signature is being forged on cheques, he must take
all steps that are open to him to minimise the bank’s loss.
Banker/Customer Relationships 15

Quick question

Give examples of what a customer could do to ensure that cheques are issued in a manner which
does not facilitate alteration.

Write your answer here before reading on.

Examples could include:

• not leaving any spaces between words when writing the amount of the cheque

• drawing a line between the last word and the amount box

• when inserting the figures in the amount box, using a long line between the
“pounds” and “pence” figures in order to use the full width of the box.

The judgements in two court cases, which are looked at in more detail in the chapter
on cheques, confirm the position.

Case studies

In the case of London Joint Stock Bank -v- Macmillan and Arthur, 1918 it was
held that if a customer is careless in the manner in which he draws a cheque,
and fraudulent alteration of the cheque is facilitated, then it is the customer and
not the bank that should bear any loss.

In the case of Greenwood -v- Martins Bank Limited, 1931 a customer was aware
that his wife was forging his signature on cheques that were being paid by the
bank. The customer did not inform the bank until after his wife had died and
then attempted to sue the bank for recovery of the sums paid away. His action
was not successful.

Quick question

What are the purposes of the Banking Code?

Write your answer here before reading on.


16 Banking Operations

The Banking Code

The Banking Code is a voluntary code that sets standards of good banking practice for
financial services firms to follow, dealing with personal customers in the UK. It is
published jointly by the British Bankers Association, the Building Societies Association
and the Association for Payment Clearing Services.

The Banking Code was introduced in 1991, with the present code being updated in
2003, 2005 and March 2008. The Code will continue to be updated and amended on an
ongoing basis.

The Banking Code Standards Board (BCSB) was formed in 1999, with the aim of
monitoring compliance with the Banking Code. A further role of the BCSB is to
interpret and develop such codes. The BCSB has the power to discipline those
organisations that are in breach of the codes by a range of means, including the
“naming and shaming” of these organisations. The BCSB’s ultimate sanction is
expulsion.

The BCSB also has a role to play in providing consumers with information about
which organisations are registered and what their obligations are under the Code.

The Banking Code applies to the following products and services:

• current accounts, including basic bank accounts

• cards and PINs

• overdrafts and loans

• savings and deposit accounts, including ISAs and cash deposit Child Trust
Funds

• payment services, including foreign exchange.

Quick question

Why do you think some products are not covered by the Code?

Write your answer here before reading on.

The Code does not apply to the following products and services:

• mortgages

• investments

• insurance

• Premium bonds

• currency accounts.
Banker/Customer Relationships 17

These products are not covered as they are regulated separately – either by the FSA
or by some other code.

The Key Commitments

In providing the agreed level of service, the subscribers to the Code promise that they
will:

treat you fairly and reasonably when providing you with products and
services covered in this Code.

The key commitments are:

• making sure that advertising and promotional literature is clear and not
misleading and that clear information is given about products and services

• giving clear information about accounts and services, how they work, their terms
and conditions and the interest rates which may apply

• helping you to use your account or service by sending regular statements (where
appropriate) and keeping you informed about changes to the interest rates,
charges or terms and conditions

• helping you to switch your current account between financial institutions that
subscribe to this Code

• lending responsibly

• dealing quickly and sympathetically with things that go wrong and consider all
cases of financial difficulty sympathetically and positively

• treating all personal information as private and confidential, and providing


secure and reliable banking and payment systems

• publicising this Code, having copies available and making sure that staff are
trained to put it into practice.

The areas covered by the Banking Code are:

• Helping you to choose products and services that meet your needs

• Interest rates

• Charges

• Terms and conditions

• Changing your account

• Advertising and marketing

• Running your account

• Cards and PINs

• Your personal information

• Protecting your accounts

• Lending
18 Banking Operations

• Financial difficulties – how we can help

• Complaints

• Monitoring

• Getting help

Case studies
Halifax plc

The BCSB found that Halifax were in breach of the Banking Code over its
handling of changes that it made in July 2002 in the terms of its Bonus Gold
account.

The Halifax had notified its customers correctly about the changes to the account
– these changes involved a reduction in the annual bonus rate, in return for
which the customer had greater access to their funds as well as a higher standard
interest rate. However, Halifax advised their customer that they would lose
their accrued bonus unless they switched to one of four other types of Halifax
account.

The BCSB held that this amounted to a penalty which is not permitted under the
Code. As a result of this, Halifax reinstated the bonuses of those customers who
had previously withdrawn funds at a cost to the company of approximately
£0.5 million.

Bank of Ireland

The Bank of Ireland was found to be in material breach of the Banking Code
following the identification during a routine compliance monitoring visit in
September 2000 of one breach and the disclosure of four others in the Annual
Statement of Compliance submitted to the BCSB by the Bank of Ireland.
However, the BCSB accepted the Bank of Ireland’s commitment to full adherence
to the Code in the future.

Update to the Banking Code

The most recent update to the Code occurred in March 2008. You will find a copy of
the Banking Code in your place of work – you should read this to find out more of the
detail under the headings of the Code. You can also download the Code from the
BCSB website at www.bankingcode.org.uk or from www.bba.org.uk.

There is also a Business Banking Code which has many similarities with the Banking
Code but is intended for business customers. The details of the Business Banking
Code are outwith the scope of this course.
Banker/Customer Relationships 19

Question time 1
1 The mother of your customer, Karl Williams, calls into the office as she is concerned that Karl has
issued a cheque, but there are not enough funds in the account to cover it. She explains that she
will pay enough into the account to pay the cheque. How would you respond?

2 Can you describe any circumstances where it might be in the interests of the bank to divulge
information about the affairs of one of its customers?

3 Is a banker a mere custodian of the customer’s money?

Continue on the next page.


20 Banking Operations

Question time 1
4 What duties does a customer have to his or her bank?

5 Explain what you understand by the Banking Code.

Check your answers at the back of the book.


Banker/Customer Relationships 21

Review

Now consider the main learning points which were introduced in this chapter.
Go through them and tick each one when you are happy that you fully understand
each point.
Then check back to the objectives at the beginning of the chapter and match them to
the learning points.
Reread any section you are unsure of before moving on.

It is difficult to define precisely what is meant by a “bank”.


The Banking Act 1979 introduced a formal system of supervision of
“banking” and prohibits any person from accepting deposits in the course
of carrying on a business. The Act also introduced the terms “recognised
bank” and “licensed deposit taker” to make a distinction between institutions
and the range of services they provided. ■
While there is no definition of a bank in the Financial Services and Markets
Act 2000, it does state that with a few exceptions it is illegal to accept deposits
from the public unless authorisation has been received from the FSA. ■
As soon as someone has opened an account with a bank, they immediately
become a customer. However, it has also been held that a person could
become a customer even before opening an account, if it was their intention
to open one and subsequently did so. ■
The relationship between banker and customer is one of contract. ■
The bank’s principal duty is to honour customers’ cheques on demand. ■
Another duty of the banker is the duty of secrecy. There are four exceptions
to this duty: when disclosure may be permitted under compulsion of law,
where there is a duty to the public to disclose, where it is in the interests of
the bank to disclose information, or where the disclosure is made with the
consent of the customer. ■
A duty of the customer is to ensure that when cheques are issued there are
sufficient available funds in the account. The customer also has a duty to ensure
that cheques are issued in a manner which does not facilitate alteration and that,
in the event of becoming aware that their signature is being forged on cheques,
they must take all steps that are open to them to minimise the bank’s loss. ■
The Banking Code is a voluntary code that sets standards of good banking
practice for financial services firms to follow, dealing with personal customers
in the UK. ■
22 Banking Operations

Key words in this chapter are given below. There is space to


write your own revision notes and to add any other words or
phrases that you want to remember.

Part IV Permission procedures

Bills of Exchange Act 1882

Financial Services and Markets Act 2000

Bankers Books Evidence Act 1879

banker’s duties

customer‘s duties

Banking Code

Banking Code Standards Board


Banker/Customer Relationships 23

Multiple choice questions 1


Try these self-test questions to assess your understanding of what you have read in this chapter.
The answers are at the back of the book.

1 The Bills of Exchange Act 1882 is important in relation to which one of the following types of
banking services?

A bill payments

B cheques

C direct debits

D foreign exchange services

2 Which one of the following pieces of legislation prohibits a non-excepted person or organisation
from accepting deposits in the course of carrying out a business?

A Financial Services Act 1986

B Building Societies Act 1997

C Banking Act 1979

D Bills of Exchange Act 1882

3 The authority given by the FSA to persons seeking to set up a bank is called:

A Part IV Permission

B Certificate of Incorporation

C FSA Authorisation

D Banking Certificate

4 In the context of disclosing information that would otherwise be confidential, which one of the
following statements is true?

A a bank always requires the consent of the individual concerned to disclose confidential
information

B a bank may disclose if it is in the interests of the customer concerned

C a bank need not disclose information on a customer unless a court order has been made to
this effect

D a bank may disclose confidential information if it is in the public interest to do so


24 Banking Operations

Multiple choice questions 1


5 The relationship between a depositor and a banker is one of:

A trustee and beneficiary

B member and depositor

C debtor and creditor

D bailor and bailee

6 Legally, the relationship between a banker and its customer is which one of the following?

A membership

B contract

C custodian

D trustee

7 What would be the consequence of a bank disclosing the balance on Susan’s account, held in her
sole name, to Freddie, her husband?

A the bank would be prosecuted

B the bank would be deregistered under the Data Protection Act 1998

C Susan may be awarded damages against the bank

D there would be no consequence to the bank as Susan and Freddie are legally married

8 Which one of the following bodies participated in the creation of the Banking Code?

A Financial Services Authority

B Building Societies Commission

C Bank of England

D Association for Payment Clearing Services


An Outline of Bank Services 25

2 An Outline
of Bank Services

Objectives

By the end of this chapter, you should be able to:

• Explain the operation of savings and investment accounts.

• Describe basic lending facilities offered by banks.

• Outline money transmission and payment services.

• Describe the share dealing and investment advice services of banks.

• Explain what is meant by trustee and executry business.

• Differentiate between insurance and assurance.

• State the travel facilities bank customers use.

• Describe the safe custody services banks offer to customers.


26 Banking Operations

Introduction

In the last chapter we looked at definitions of a bank and a customer and the various
relationships that exist between them. We considered the most basic of banker and
customer relationships. Now we will look at some of the range of services that a bank
can offer to its customers, particularly:

• savings and investment accounts

• lending facilities

• money transmission

• payment services

• share dealing and investment advice

• executor and trustee services

• insurance and assurance

• travel facilities

• safe custody services.

Savings and investment accounts

One function of a bank is to attract depositors of funds. As you know, banks pay
interest on the majority of funds deposited with them, and this deposit business is
actually profitable for banks because they can onlend the money deposited to other
customers at higher rates of interest. If a bank does not have sufficient deposits to
fund its lending, it may have to borrow on the money markets which is much more
expensive than paying interest to depositors. If a bank has surplus deposits which it
does not need immediately to fund lending, these funds can be placed on the money
market at a rate of interest which will be higher than the rate of interest which it will
pay to its depositors. There is great competition for deposits between individual banks
and between banks and building societies and other organisations; for example, online
businesses that offer fund management services.

Quick question

Write down some of the factors which will influence the amount of interest paid by banks to their
customers.

Write your answer here before reading on.


An Outline of Bank Services 27

The rates of interest paid by banks will vary depending on a number of factors.
Some types of accounts will offer different rates of interest depending on the balance
maintained in the account. For example, the lowest rate of interest will apply if the
balance is say, £10,000 or less, with a slightly higher rate of interest applying to balances
between £10,000 and £25,000. Balances over £25,000 will attract the highest rate of
interest. Another influencing factor could be how much notice the customer must
give of their intention to withdraw their funds.

Quick question

What do you think is the difference between savings and investments?

Write your answer here before reading on.

The motivation that people have to save and invest may be very similar – what
differentiates the saver from the investor is their underlying attitude. Saving involves
no risk to the capital that has been set aside by the saver. Normally, the saver will have
the expectation that this capital will grow with the addition of interest added to the
original sum. Normally savings are the surplus funds that people set aside, either for
a specific purpose, for example, a holiday, or as a contingency for a “rainy day”.

On the other hand, investment carries the risk of loss of some or all of the capital.
The higher this level of risk, the greater the potential return the investor could hope to
make. Not surprisingly, investment returns usually outperform savings returns in the
medium to long term.

A further way that we can differentiate savings from investments is the way in
which the return is made. Savings pay interest, whereas investment returns are based
on a number of factors, such as capital growth and dividends payable to shareholders.
Examples of investments would be buying stocks and shares which will either provide
income by way of dividends or growth as the share price of the shares increases.
Purchasing property can be regarded as an investment as property values are generally
expected to rise as time goes on.

Whilst the interest that is paid to savers is fairly straightforward to predict, the
returns to investors are more volatile and less easy to forecast.

A bank does not need to know whether funds have been deposited for savings or
investment purposes although it may have some idea depending on whether the funds
have been deposited in a non-interest bearing account or an account which pays a
relatively low rate of interest but provides instant access to the funds, or if the funds
have been deposited in an account which pays the best rate of interest but which
requires notice of withdrawal.

Competition between the banks themselves and between banks, building societies
and other institutions is fierce and each bank will attempt to offer a range of savings
and investment accounts which will cater for all of their customers’ requirements.
28 Banking Operations

We will shortly look at a typical range of savings and investment accounts which
can be offered by banks. In addition to considering the types of account shown here,
look at the range of savings and investment accounts offered by your own bank or
organisation and consider the relative features of each. Remember, generally speaking,
the rate of interest will increase with the amount deposited and the length of time for
which the funds will be committed, and lower interest is usually the compromise for
convenience and instant access.

Quick question

What do you think are the benefits to the customer of having a current account?

Write your answer here before reading on.

Current accounts

The current account is a traditional type of account which has been offered by banks
for many years. In the early days of banking, before banks offered such a wide range
of savings products, most banks only offered a current account and some form of
deposit account. A current account provides the customer with a high level of
convenience and is very popular with personal customers although it is perhaps more
popular with business customers who will often have a substantial number of
transactions going through their accounts. These accounts are sometimes referred to
as money transmission accounts, as they are used to deposit and withdraw funds,
usually on a frequent basis. We will look in more detail at money transmission later in
this chapter.

Funds can easily be deposited into a current account and withdrawn just as easily.
There is no minimum sum required to open an account and there are no limits on the
amount that can be deposited or withdrawn at any time. Traditionally, funds were
withdrawn from a current account by means of a cheque drawn by the customer
either payable to him/herself or payable to a third party. We will look at cheques in
some detail later, but for now we can see that a major benefit of a current account is
that it provides customers with a useful means of settling bills and accounts and allows
the customer to go shopping, pay bills, purchase petrol, pay for holidays and large
household or electrical items without having to carry large quantities of cash. It is also
possible to make automated payments from a current account by way of standing
orders and direct debits, by using a CHIP and PIN plastic card, or though payments
initiated through the bank’s telephone centre or internet site. We will look at all of
these facilities later in this course.

Another feature of a current account is that it is possible to have an overdraft on the


account, that is, it is possible to withdraw more funds than have been paid in, but it is
essential for the customer to agree with the bank beforehand that it will be permissible
for the account to become overdrawn and the maximum amount by which the account
may be overdrawn – the overdraft limit.
An Outline of Bank Services 29

If cheques are issued by the customer without funds being in the account to meet
them when they are presented for payment, if an overdraft limit has not been
authorised, or if the amount of the overdraft is or will be in excess of the limit, then the
bank may return cheques unpaid to the bank that has presented them for payment.
Such a course of action will often cause considerable embarrassment to the customer.

If items are presented which would cause an account either to overdraw (if there is
no pre-arranged overdraft facility) or to go in excess of the agreed overdraft limit, the
bank may charge the customer a referral fee for each item presented. These charges
are intended to cover the cost to the bank of reviewing the customer’s account and
deciding whether or not to pay or return the item(s). There has been significant
customer opposition to these charges, with many customers successfully obtaining
refunds from their bank. Indeed, websites have been set up with templates for
customers to use when making these claims. At the time of writing, there is a test case
in progress to challenge the validity of these claims, so this situation may have
changed.

In the past, given that it was open to the bank to return cheques unpaid, there was
a question mark over the suitability of a cheque as a means of settling bills and making
payments. For example, a shop would not normally permit a customer to walk out
with goods if there was a possibility that the cheque the customer had just issued to
pay for the goods would not be honoured by the customer’s bank. If the cheque were
to be returned unpaid, the customer would still have the goods but the shop would
not have been paid for them.

In order therefore to make a cheque an acceptable instrument for making payments,


banks issued their customers with cheque guarantee cards, usually referred to just as
cheque cards, to customers they considered trustworthy. The card has the name of the
bank and various security devices such as hologram markings to prevent fraudulent
duplication; also an unique identifying number, the customer’s name and signature.
There is a limit for any one cheque – £50, £100 or £250 – and, providing the person in
whose favour the cheque is drawn actually sees the cheque being signed, compares
the signature on the cheque to the signature on the cheque card and writes the cheque
card number on the reverse of the cheque, the bank guarantees that the cheque will be
paid when presented for payment.

It is still possible for cheques to be guaranteed in such a way – if the customer


draws a cheque, their Switch/debit card has the same function as the cheque guarantee
card, but rather than writing the cheque card number on the reverse of the cheque, the
retailer writes the Switch/debit card number on the reverse.

Quick question

What is the current trend regarding acceptance of cheques by retailers?

Write your answer here before reading on.


30 Banking Operations

As you will be aware, a number of larger retailers no longer accept cheques as a


means of payment and will rather accept cash or a plastic card. When a plastic card is
used, it is either swiped through an electronic reader by the retailer or, more
commonly, the customer inserts the card into the reader and is prompted to key a four
digit Personal Identification Number (PIN) into a keypad. The transaction is then
authorised electronically and the relevant receipts are produced.

In the event of a current account becoming overdrawn, the customer pays interest
to the bank at an agreed rate over the bank’s base rate. In addition, if the account is
overdrawn without a limit being agreed beforehand or if the limit is exceeded, the
rate of interest payable on any unauthorised overdraft or any excess may well be
much higher than the rate of interest for authorised overdrafts.

The rate of interest charged by the bank is linked to the Bank of England Base Rate
which is reviewed monthly by the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee.
You will no doubt have heard and read in the media about the movements in this rate
and the rationale behind them.

Example
If we assume that the Bank of England Base Rate is currently set at 6% and you
have an overdraft facility with your current bank with an agreed rate of interest
of 4% above Base Rate, then the current rate of interest you are being charged is
10%. Should the Bank of England Base Rate be reduced to say, 5%, then your
agreed rate of interest would fall to 9%. Conversely, should the Bank of England
Base Rate rise to 7%, your agreed rate of interest would increase to 11%.

We will look at the factors which inform your bank’s decision as to what margin
above base rate they set the overdraft rate at in the chapter on lending. The interest
charged on an overdraft is only applied to the outstanding balance of the account –
not on the agreed overdraft limit, therefore, if you have an agreed overdraft limit with
your bank of say, £1,000, but your account is only overdrawn by £657, then you only
pay interest on this lower figure.

The main benefits of a current account are:

• ease of access

• a convenient method of payment

• security.

As a compromise for such benefits, customers are normally only paid a low rate of
interest on funds deposited on current accounts. However, provided the account
remains in credit, there is normally no service charge. If the account becomes
overdrawn at any time during the period for which service charges are calculated,
normally monthly, these charges are normally applied for the whole month – not just
the period for which the account was overdrawn. We will look at service charges in
more detail later relating to the operation of customer accounts.

Customers receive regular statements from the bank detailing all the transactions
on the current account and advising of the current balance. Some of the services offered
on a current account are:
An Outline of Bank Services 31

• cash withdrawal card


• standing orders
• direct debits
• debit/payment card, such as Switch
• telephone banking
• internet banking.

Interest bearing current accounts

Traditionally banks did not pay interest on credit balances on a current account.
Customers did not seem to mind as they enjoyed many other benefits from having
this type of account, often holding two accounts with the same bank – a current account
for organising day-to-day living and other expenses, and a deposit or savings account
to which they could transfer surplus funds. For a long time therefore, banks could
regard credit balances on current accounts as an interest-free loan to the bank which
could be onlent to other customers, thus earning interest for the bank.

Eventually, as competition intensified, and particularly when building societies


started offering bank-type accounts such as a cheque book account which was interest
bearing, banks offered their customers interest paying current accounts. Given the
convenience of current accounts and the fact that customers have instant access to
their funds, the rate of interest payable will be among the lowest rates paid by the
bank, although most interest rates are tiered so that the more that is held in the account,
the better the rate of interest will be. Some banks attempt to gain a competitive
advantage over their rivals by offering a higher rate of interest.

Basic accounts

As the name infers, these are accounts which offer the customer a basic range of money
transmission facilities, with a plastic card for withdrawals of cash at an Automated
Telling Machine (ATM). It is also possible to have automated payments credited to
the account (such as for wages) and payments may also be made from the account by
way of standing orders and direct debits.

High interest cheque accounts

This type of account is similar in some ways to a current account although the rate of
interest paid is greater than the rate on interest paying current accounts. The customer
will still have instant access to their funds, but there may be restrictions on the number
of cheques that may be issued in a given period and cheques may require to be for not
less than a stated amount, say £250 or 10% of the balance on the account. A minimum
amount is also normally required to open the account, say £2,000, and it may be a
condition that the balance on the account does not fall below a minimum sum,
otherwise normal current account conditions will apply.

Quick question

What can savings accounts be used for?

Write your answer here before reading on.


32 Banking Operations

Savings accounts

These types of accounts are sometimes known as deposit accounts. The rate of interest
paid on savings accounts is higher than the rate paid on interest paying current
accounts, although normally if the customer is looking for a high rate of interest they
will not be attracted to a savings account.

The main advantages of a savings account are:

• there is no minimum sum required to open the account nor minimum balance
to be maintained

• the customer has instant access to the funds.

Savings accounts are therefore suitable for short term savings, such as for a holiday
or household goods. Some customers may also be attracted to splitting their savings
between two types of account, keeping some of their savings instantly available with
any surplus being committed for a term at a higher rate of interest. One point the
customer should bear in mind if pursuing this strategy is that the combined balance
on the two accounts, if deposited in the one account, may result in a balance that
passes the threshold to qualify for the next tier of interest above the rate currently
being paid. Overdrafts are not permitted on savings accounts and the customer cannot
issue cheques on the account.

In the past, savings accounts were operated by the customer presenting their
passbook at the counter, along with a signed withdrawal form, but they are now
operated by plastic card.

Investment accounts

Customers with surplus funds which are not immediately required can earn the top
rates of interest offered by banks by investing their funds in an investment type of
account. A minimum amount is usually required to open the account and the customer
may have to give notice of withdrawal, often as much as 90 days. Again the interest
rates will be tiered with larger balances attracting higher rates of interest.

Whilst these accounts require the customer to give the appropriate period of notice,
it might be possible for the customer to obtain instant access; however, there will be
some form of interest penalty which the customer must forgo in order to obtain the
instant access.

It is also possible for depositors to attract money market rates by investing the
funds for a fixed term which could be as long as five years. The bank can pay money
market rates as it will sometimes onlend the funds in the market for a similar term.
For this reason it would not be possible for the customer to withdraw the funds during
the term of the deposit. The rate of interest varies depending on the amount of the
deposit and the term.

Individual savings accounts

These accounts were introduced in April 1999 as a replacement for both the Tax
Exempt Special Savings Account (TESSA) and the Personal Equity Plan (PEP) and
were designed to encourage savers aged 18 and over to participate in a wide range of
savings or investments. Cash ISAs are now available to savers aged 16 and over.
An Outline of Bank Services 33

With effect from 6 April 2008, a UK resident may invest up to £7,200 in an ISA; a
maximum of £3,600 may be invested in cash. The individual may choose to invest the
whole allowance or a smaller sum in a stocks and shares ISA, all within the overall
ISA ceiling per person per year. An individual can hold more than one ISA account
but the aggregate sum invested cannot exceed the maximum investment limit.
Investment limits are reviewed every year.

The interest paid on an ISA held as a cash deposit is tax free. The return on an ISA
held in stocks and shares is paid with 10% tax deducted from the dividends.

The savings limit applies to the individual and it is not possible to hold a joint ISA
account which means that two persons can invest £7,200 split equally between two
separate ISAs in one tax year.

Quick question

What are some of the reasons why a customer might want to borrow money from a bank?

Write your answer here before reading on.

Lending facilities

Banks “borrow” funds from depositors which are then advanced to other customers.
The margin between the rate of interest paid by the banks and the rate charged to
borrowers is profit for the bank. You will appreciate therefore that lending is a very
important part of a bank’s business. We will look at the general principles of good
lending later when we will also look at some of the lending products offered by banks.
Here we will briefly summarise some of these products.

Overdrafts

You will recall that banks sometimes permit current account customers to issue
cheques for sums in excess of the credit balance on the account. The customer is thus
permitted to overdraw on the account and pays interest on the amount of the overdraft.
Overdrafts are convenient for both personal customers who may need additional
funds to tide them over until their salary is received and businesses that may require
assistance from the bank to balance the timing of bills and expenses that require to be
paid with receipts from customers and debtors.

Overdrafts are repayable on demand and are normally subject to annual review.
Some financial service providers now automatically offer overdraft facilities on some
current account products.

When a customer has an overdraft, it is expected that the account will swing from
credit to debit; for example, for a personal customer, the account may show a debit
balance prior to the monthly salary being lodged to the account, when it will swing
into credit again.
34 Banking Operations

For a business customer, the overdraft may be to help finance the purchase of stock.
When the customer pays for this, it would be expected that the balance of the account
would swing into debit, and once the stock is sold and funds are received, the account
should swing back into credit. When an account remains in debit permanently, this is
referred to as hard core borrowing.

Personal loans

Personal loans are normally granted for the purpose of consumer purchases such as
cars, holidays, consumer durables such as televisions, fridge-freezers and for home
improvements such as a new fitted kitchen, double glazing, the building of a
conservatory, etc. Personal loans are not restricted to these purposes and may be
granted for any purpose that is acceptable to the bank.

Interest is charged on personal loans at a flat rate which means that it is calculated
on the total amount of the loan for the full term and applied to the amount of the loan
at the commencement of the repayment term. The total amount is then divided by the
number of monthly instalments to determine the amount of the repayment
instalments. Personal loans are not usually secured and the maximum term of a loan
is normally ten years.

When a personal loan application is received, it is usually credit scored to determine


whether or not the bank is willing to grant the facility. We will look at credit scoring
in more detail later in the course.

House purchase loans

House purchase loans (normally referred to by customers as mortgages) were


traditionally offered by building societies but are now offered by banks at rates of
interest that are competitive with the building societies. The amount available to
borrowers will normally be a stipulated multiple of the customer’s salary or a multiple
of joint borrowers’ combined salaries. We will look at house purchase loans in more
detail later in the course.

Equity release or capital release loans

Often the value of a customer’s house will exceed the amount of the outstanding
house purchase loan. The excess is often called the reversion or equity in the property.
For example, if your house has a market value of £150,000 and your outstanding
mortgage is £45,000, the equity in your property is £150,000 – £45,000 = £105,000.

Most banks are willing to lend customers a certain percentage of this equity
provided that the bank is granted a charge (in other words, security) over the house.
The purposes of such loans can be varied and are broadly similar to the purposes of
personal loans. An added advantage of this type of facility as opposed to the personal
loan is that provided the customer does not borrow more than the total amount agreed
with the bank, they do not need to make a separate application each time they would
like to make a purchase.

As the bank holds security, the loans are normally granted at the bank’s mortgage
rate and not on a flat rate basis, thus being a cheaper form of borrowing than personal
loans. In addition, equity/capital release loans can be granted for longer periods than
personal loans.
An Outline of Bank Services 35

Quick question

List some basic forms of money transmission.

Write your answer here before reading on.

Money transmission and payment services

Money transmission is the transfer of money from one party to another, normally
from the receiver of goods and services to the supplier of goods and services. The
simplest form of money transmission is the physical transfer of cash from one party to
another. Another basic form of money transmission is cheques which again are
physically transferred either in person, for example in a shop or by post.

Money transmission is a central function in today’s society as the transfer of value


is involved in almost every aspect of everyday life. Firms need to transfer funds to
suppliers for the goods and services required to conduct the firm’s business. Firms
also need labour which they have to pay for in the form of wages and salaries.
Individuals are the recipients of wages and salaries which they in turn transfer to
various parties. They will most likely transfer a significant proportion of the money
they receive in respect of their home, whether to a landlord or to a bank or building
society which advanced them funds to enable them to purchase their house.

Individuals also require basic commodities such as food and energy and will
transfer their money to the providers of such commodities. The money transferred to
the firms producing commodities can then be transferred to the suppliers of goods
and services and the suppliers of labour (individuals) in return for the values provided
by them and so it goes on.

There are a number of methods of money transmission other than cash or cheques
and the banks provide a number of payment services, some of which are:

• standing orders

• direct debits

• bank giro credits

• banker’s drafts

• credit cards

• charge cards

• debit cards

• telephone banking

• internet services.
36 Banking Operations

We will take a further look at cash and cheques here and also consider the first four
of the above – standing orders, direct debits, bank giro credits and banker’s drafts.
The remaining payment services will be covered later when we deal with plastic cards
and electronic banking.

Quick question

Why do you think that cash is still a popular means of money transmission?

Write your answer here before reading on.

Cash

In spite of the technological advances that have been made in recent years and the
wide range of payment services available from banks, cash is still probably the most
popular means of money transmission as far as individuals are concerned. Cash is
easy to use and is a very convenient method of transferring value, especially in a
series of relatively small transactions.

Quick question

How close do you think we are to achieving a “cashless society”?

Write your answer here before reading on.

We are probably further from a cashless society than you think! About 85 – 90% of
transactions (68% if transactions of under £1 are excluded) in both number and value
terms are still carried out in cash – despite the array of different methods of money
transmission available. It is likely therefore that cash will remain the dominant means
of money transmission for the foreseeable future.

Traditionally individuals received their wages and salaries in the form of cash
which provided them with an immediately available form of purchasing power. In
more recent times there has been a move towards other methods of paying wages and
salaries, the most common methods now being by cheque or by payment into the
individual’s bank account. This move away from payment of wages by cash was
completed by the Employment Protection (Consolidation) (Scotland) Act 1978 which
served to define employees’ rights and withdrew the rights of weekly paid workers to
be paid in cash. This statute therefore allowed employers to pay wages by cheque,
cash or a direct transfer into the employees’ bank accounts.
An Outline of Bank Services 37

If wages are paid directly into a bank account on which the use of a cheque book is
permitted, the funds in the account can immediately be transferred to third parties by
means of a cheque. In such circumstances individuals will still have a need for cash as,
for example, it would not be practical to write a cheque for very small amounts and
cash is still the only acceptable method of payment for things such as some pay phones
and parking meters. Individuals will therefore wish to convert some of the money in
their bank account into cash, which is usually done by withdrawing funds via an
ATM, although it is possible to withdraw cash at the counter of a bank either with a
plastic card or by signing the relevant withdrawal form. Most bank branches have
ATMs and they are also increasingly available at locations other than banks such as
shopping centres and other retail outlets, etc.

The customer’s plastic card has a magnetic strip and chip containing identifying
features which will be picked up by the bank’s main computer system when the card
is inserted in an ATM. The customer’s personal identification number (PIN) is
conveyed to the bank every time the ATM is used. This is a security measure which
prevents the card being used by anyone else. In some banks, cash withdrawals made
at the counter may also be authorised by the customer keying their PIN into a keypad.

The main advantages of ATMs are that:

• they are available for use 24 hours a day, 7 days a week

• they are also very simple to operate – the customer is guided through the
transaction by a series of on-screen instructions.

Quick question

What additional features are available at ATMs?

Write your answer here before reading on.

The additional features that may be available at an ATM include:

• accept deposits

• process a cheque book request

• send out marketing information

• print the customer’s balance

• print a statement of the customer’s last ten transactions

• pay bills

• change the customer’s PIN

• transfer funds between different accounts

• top up a mobile phone.


38 Banking Operations

Ironically, the ATM is perpetuating the use of cash in that access to cash is very
simple and speedy. In fact, the Scots make more use of ATMs than any other nation in
Europe – nearly two thirds of all the cash in our pockets comes through an ATM.

ATM loans

In the future, with new technology, it is believed that automated dispensers will be
able to deliver almost any product that a financial services organisation chooses. New
loan dispensers could be situated alongside the traditional cash dispensers with the
capacity to grant loans, either in the form of a cheque, or by a credit transfer into the
customer’s account in less than ten minutes.

Quick question

What are the main disadvantages of using cash as a means of settling payments?

Write your answer here before reading on.

Cash is not convenient or safe to carry around in large quantities – you would
never think of setting off to buy a house carrying £200,000 in notes and coins! The
security aspect is also very significant as there is an increased risk of theft or assault if
it is suspected that an individual is likely to be carrying large quantities of cash. The
seller of the house would also not particularly welcome this amount of cash and would
be keen to lodge the cash with their bank as soon as possible.

Cheques

Cheques play a vital role in banking operations. In a later chapter devoted entirely to
them we will look closely at the definition of a cheque and the status of the various
parties to a cheque. We will also look at the way in which a cheque is transferred from
the bank at which it was lodged to the bank of the customer who actually issued the
cheque. For now we’ll consider the advantages and disadvantages of a cheque as a
means of settling payments.

The main advantage of cheques is that they provide a safe and convenient method
of transferring money. Cheques can be made out for any amount, therefore they can
be used for settlement of large transactions and can also be sent by mail.

If a cheque were to fall into the wrong hands it would not normally be possible for
the person then holding the cheque to obtain value for it and it would also be possible
for the person who has issued the cheque to ask the bank not to pay the cheque if it is
ever presented for payment. However, if the drawer (or issuer) of the cheque has
reason not to wish the cheque to be paid on presentation (for example, if it has gone
missing in the post), it is possible to request that on presentation the bank refuses to
pay the cheque. This is called stopping or countermanding the cheque. A bank will
normally charge the customer for this service. It is not possible to countermand a
cheque which is guaranteed by a Switch/debit card.
An Outline of Bank Services 39

The main disadvantage of a cheque is that, unless it is guaranteed by a card, the


person receiving the cheque will not be certain that the cheque will eventually be paid
and may therefore be reluctant to pass over goods and services until the cheque has
been paid.

The time between a cheque being lodged at the bank of the person in whose favour
the cheque has been drawn and the cheque being paid by the bank of the person who
has issued the cheque is known as the time that it takes the cheque to clear. Some
people will not wish to pass over their goods or services until they are in receipt of
cleared funds. The time taken for cheques to clear is normally two or three business
days, depending on whether the bank accounts of the person in whose favour the
cheque has been issued and the person issuing the cheque are at the same branch of
the bank or at the same or different banks.

An advantage of the clearing system as far as the person issuing the cheque is
concerned is that there will be a delay of a number of days between the cheque being
issued, the goods being received and the person’s account being debited. This is more
of an advantage if the cheque has been issued on an interest bearing current account.

Standing orders

A standing order is a signed authority given by a customer to a bank instructing the


bank to make regular payments from the customer’s account to a specified party at
stated times for a stated period or until further notice. Standing orders are designed
for fixed regular payments such as insurance premiums, council tax and loan
repayments. A standing order is a safe and convenient method of transferring funds
and avoids the need to remember to send payments every month or to send cash or
cheques through the post, or to call into a bank to make a bank giro credit payment.

The customer signs a standing order mandate authorising the bank to debit their
account and transfer the sum involved to the bank account of the third party. No
further action is necessary by the customer and the bank account will be debited on
the agreed date every month, week, quarter or annually, as the case may be.

If the account to be debited and the account to be credited are both held at the same
branch of a bank, it should be relatively straightforward for the bank to make the
transfer. The situation is a little more complicated if the beneficiary’s bank account is
with another bank. In such circumstances the bank will make use of VOCA. The banks
are members of VOCA which handles all of the transfers between banks.

Direct debits

Direct debits are similar to standing orders in some ways, but there are several
important differences. Direct debits are used for making regular payments and the
transfers are handled by VOCA. They also require the written authority of the
customer. The fundamental difference, however, is that rather than the customer’s
bank remitting the payment via VOCA, the beneficiary instigates the debit and advises
the bank of the amount involved. The authority that the customer gives to the bank is
to comply with instructions received from the beneficiary of the direct debit to debit
the customer’s account. Direct debits are more suitable than standing orders for
payments for irregular amounts and are now more popular than standing orders as
they do not need to be amended every time there is a change in the payment amount
(such as a change in the mortgage interest rate).
40 Banking Operations

Example
A customer may wish to pay their power bill automatically through their bank
account which can be done either by standing order or direct debit. If the
customer elects to pay by standing order, the actual amounts that will be due to
the supplier of the power company will not be known at the outset as the amount
will depend on the consumption of fuel. The customer and the power company
agree an amount which is roughly in line with the customer’s anticipated usage
of fuel and the customer pays this sum by standing order. At regular intervals
the amounts paid will be reconciled with the actual sum due and adjustments
can be made.

However, if the customer elects to pay by direct debit, as soon as the power
company has taken a meter reading and has calculated the exact sum due to
them, they could instigate a direct debit and take the correct sum due from the
customer’s account.

Direct debits are also useful for annual subscriptions, telephone bills, payment of
television licence fee and numerous other purposes. The customer may cancel direct
debits and in certain circumstances arrange to have payments recalled. That said,
there is still some nervousness on the part of some customers to sign direct debit
authorities as it is the payees who initiate payments. Some customers are
understandably nervous that they will lose control of the amounts that are taken out
of their bank accounts and many prefer standing orders for this reason. Banks,
however, apply very strict controls on those organisations wishing to operate the
direct debit system. As an added protection to the customer, there is the Direct Debit
Guarantee Scheme.

Quick question

What do you understand by the Direct Debit Guarantee Scheme?

Write your answer here before reading on.

This scheme protects customers who have direct debits set up on their accounts.
Organisations that use direct debits are required to meet stringent legal, financial and
administrative requirements. When they make an application to use direct debits, this
must be supported by an authorised sponsor, such as their bank. The organisation
must also sign a standard indemnity. Therefore, if a customer has had a payment
made from their account by way of direct debit, this scheme will indemnify them
against any loss or incorrect debit.

Bank giro credits

A bank giro credit is a credit transfer form used by customers for making non-
automated payments to accounts domiciled at a branch or bank other than the branch
where the customer’s account is held.
An Outline of Bank Services 41

The bank giro credit transfer slip is completed by the customer and contains details of:
• sorting code of the bank to which the funds are to be transferred
• name of the bank
• branch of the bank
• name of the account to be credited
• account number
• who is making the payment
• in some cases, an identifying reference, for example for a catalogue payment
• amount.

Many organisations, such as utility companies, telephone and internet providers


and credit card companies issue statements and bills and include a preprinted bank
giro credit as a tear-off portion of the bill or statement to make settlement easier for
the customer who only has to sign and date the credit transfer and lodge it together
with the required amount of money at the branch counter. The bank then sends the
credit to the bank account of the party issuing the bill or statement.

Bank giro credits pass through the clearing system, therefore the funds will take
longer to reach the beneficiary’s account than would be the case if the funds had been
sent electronically or by standing order or direct debit.

Banker’s drafts

We have already discovered that the fact that a cheque has been issued doesn’t
guarantee that the person it has been issued to will be paid. The customer can place a
stop on the cheque, or the bank can refuse to pay the cheque on the grounds that the
customer did not have sufficient funds in the bank account, or the overdraft on the
account was not sufficient to permit the cheque to be paid. The payees of cheques
have the protection of a cheque guarantee card/debit card number in some cases, but
for larger amounts the payee must wait until the cheque has cleared to be certain that
they have received payment. This uncertainty can be removed if the supplier of goods
or services is given a banker’s draft as payment. Payment is guaranteed unless the
draft has been lost or stolen and the payee doesn’t have to wait until the funds have
been cleared.

The use of banker’s drafts has diminished in recent years, as large payments may
be made by way of plastic card. In addition, settlements for large transactions, such as
house purchase, is usually made by a CHAPS payment. We will look at these later in
the course.

Share dealing services and advice

For many years, banks have provided a range of services and advice relating to
investments in products not offered by them. The buying and selling of shares,
government stocks and unit trust units, and local authority loans, can all be arranged
through branches. Banks may also offer investment advice and manage portfolios of
investments through specialist departments and/or through subsidiaries.
42 Banking Operations

Quick question

In what form should the authority from the customer be?

Write your answer here before reading on.

The customer’s written authority is relayed to a broker/dealer who buys or sells


the shares according to the customer’s instructions; for example, a minimum price
may be stipulated rather than “at best”. Shortly after a bargain has been struck, the
customer will receive a contract note detailing the consideration (number of shares x
share price), date of bargain, dealing charges, etc, and, normally within a fortnight or
so, monies will be received or paid. It is now possible to receive this information on-
line if the customer prefers.

Although they can be realised quickly if necessary, shares should be regarded as


long term investments, as prices fluctuate from day to day, and they have to rise
sufficiently to cover dealing costs as well as provide capital gain for the investor. You
will be aware that in the autumn of 2007, concerns over the American sub-prime
mortgage market caused large daily fluctuations on global stock markets.

Customers who opt for this method of investment are free to make their own
decisions but may be exposed to too much risk if there aren’t sufficient funds to spread
the individual investments around different industries, sectors and markets.
Monitoring of performance is also time consuming – there is a need to review progress
on a daily basis, the financial press or internet must be reviewed and decisions have to
be taken as to what to buy and sell, and when to do it.

Investment advice

A share dealing service is normally on an execution only basis, that is the customer
has already decided to buy or sell shares and which shares are to be bought or sold.
Some of a bank’s customers may have surplus monies to invest but may not be sure
how they wish the monies to be invested. Branch bankers are not specialist advisers in
investment and would not wish to run the risk of being sued for negligence if, on the
recommendation of a banker, a customer incurred significant losses on the stock
exchange. Decisions on which shares to invest in should be left to the customer.

However, if the customer is looking for advice from the bank as to suitable
investments, there are specialist departments to help the customer. It is important to
establish whether the customer is looking for income or growth. If the former, they
should look for an investment that will provide regular dividends or place funds in an
investment account that pays interest monthly or quarterly. The bank account option
will only be attractive of course in times of high interest rates. If the latter, then shares
which are expected to rise in value will be more attractive than shares which merely
provide good dividends.
An Outline of Bank Services 43

It should be remembered that growth and income are not mutually exclusive in a
company share. In fact, if a share pays good dividends it will be popular with investors,
which is likely to drive up the share price. It is also important to discover if the
customer has other considerations they would want to take into account when their
portfolio is being built; for example, they may wish to avoid certain types of
organisations, say in armaments, or those companies involved in animal testing.

Investment and portfolio management

Banks can offer a service, usually through a specialist subsidiary company, to


customers who wish their investments to be completely managed by the bank. An
investment strategy will be agreed which will take into account all of the customer’s
circumstances, including whether or not they have any strong beliefs on certain issues
that will affect investment decisions as mentioned above.

Once the strategy has been agreed, day-to-day management of the portfolio is
carried out by the bank company. The customer can either allow the bank discretion
to purchase and sell shares on their behalf or the bank may be required to obtain their
authorisation before making any changes to the portfolio.

Monitoring fluctuations in share values and switching funds between investments


can be a time consuming business. The customer may therefore feel that this task
would be better handled by full time staff with specialist knowledge of the market.

Executor and trustee services

Banks provide executor and trustee services, but as such services are highly
specialised, involving detailed knowledge of the relevant law and taxation, they are
provided by specialist departments of the bank. Before we can begin to understand
these services, we must first understand the functions of an executor and a trustee.

An executor is someone who is appointed to ensure that the wishes of a deceased


person, as set out in his or her will, are carried out. Normally an executor will be
appointed in terms of the will itself, but if the person making the will has failed to
nominate an executor, one can be appointed by the court. If the deceased died without
making a will (intestate) an executor may be appointed by the court to wind up the
deceased’s estate.

A trustee is a person who has been trusted to hold and administer property or
assets for the benefit of others. A trust can be created at any time by someone
transferring assets, either cash, investments or property, into the name of a trustee
and directing, in terms of a trust deed, that the trustee holds and invests the assets for
the benefit of others, for example, the children of the person creating the trust, and that the
trustee makes payments out of the trust fund to the beneficiaries at certain times.

Customers will sometimes have banks appointed as an executor or a trustee in


preference to individuals, as an executor must be someone who is expected to live
longer than the person making the will and similarly a trustee should live long enough
and retain the faculties to see the trust purposes fulfilled. As a bank is an organisation
with corporate personality, it will by definition live longer than the customer.
44 Banking Operations

In addition, trusts often involve large sums of money and it is desirable that a
trustee has financial acumen and specialist knowledge and is able to make tax-efficient
decisions when investing the trust’s funds. A bank’s specialist department can provide
all of these services. Another reason why a bank may be appointed as executor or
trustee is that it is essential that the relevant duties are carried out in an impartial
manner. The division of family property is often a cause of acrimony and there are
obvious benefits in having affairs administered by a party which is some way removed
from the beneficiaries.

Quick question

What is the difference between insurance and assurance?

Write your answer here before reading on.

Insurance and assurance

A number of banks have been associated with insurance and life assurance companies
for many years, acting as agents for these companies. In the highly competitive
financial market, relationships have changed as financial services organisations have
actively promoted such services.

Insurance is the means by which an individual or business can obtain recompense,


from the insurance company, in respect of loss or of damage to property, personal
accident, loss of business profits, etc suffered by the insured. A premium is paid for
the cover provided. Life assurance provides payment on the death of the insured but
may also include payment on a specified date should the insured survive until that date.

The key difference is that assurance is concerned with certainty, insurance with
possibility.

Currently, many banks provide insurance and assurance advice and products
through branches as well as through specialist companies. These services are
dependent on the extent of the particular organisation’s involvement in this field.
There are three possibilities:

• the organisation may act as insurance broker, that is, offer the customer a choice
of insurance company

• the organisation may be a tied agent, that is, insurance/assurance is arranged


through one company only

• the bank may sell their own products (for example The Royal Bank owns Direct
Line Insurance and Royal Scottish Assurance).

In the first two cases, the organisation earns a commission from the insurance
company and life assurance is fairly lucrative. By acting as insurers, the organisation
derives profit from the premiums.
An Outline of Bank Services 45

Safe custody services

Probably the earliest banking service offered to the public was the acceptance of items
of value for safe keeping. Today, title deeds, share certificates, life assurance policies,
wills, jewellery, rare coins, etc may be lodged with many banks for safe keeping. Such
items can be deposited in open envelopes, sealed packages or locked boxes, or safe
deposit boxes or lockers may be available in some branches.

Unsealed envelopes are appropriate when the customer requires to deal with the
contents. For example, a customer active in the stock market may wish frequent access
to share and unit trust certificates. Also, if customers die, the bank can be asked to
produce wills to the executors or solicitors so that these parties may act on the terms
of the will. The will may contain details of funeral arrangements as well as instructions
for the distribution of the estate.

Safe deposit facilities, where the customer holds a key to the safe deposit box or
locker, would also be appropriate for frequent access but the customer can also
maintain a degree of secrecy over the contents, although these facilities are only
available in certain branches. It is also possible for an individual to rent a safe deposit
box from a company which specialises in this type of service.

In practice, banks prefer sealed envelopes or locked boxes, with no indication of


the contents. The exceptions to this include wills in sealed envelopes where the
organisation would provide a receipt along the lines of: “Envelope closed with clear
adhesive tape said to contain the will of …”.

The safe custody service is used mainly by personal customers as many businesses,
which have other assets or items of property to safeguard, tend to have their own
safes or strong rooms for this purpose.

Quick question

What travel services can banks offer customers?

Write your answer here before reading on.

Travel facilities

Foreign travel is very popular, with many individuals having two or more overseas
holidays each year, and there has also been significant growth in business travel.

The main travel facilities offered are:

• purchase and sale of foreign currency

• traveller’s cheques

• plastic cards

• travel insurance.
46 Banking Operations

Purchase and sale of foreign currency

Foreign currency is cash and therefore is convenient to use but is not a safe form of
money. It is useful when arriving in another country where it may not be convenient
or possible to encash or use other forms of travel facilities immediately. A commission
for the service of providing foreign currencies is made and a wide range is available.
Whilst currency can be sold to customers before they make their trip, a bank will also
buy back any unused foreign currency once the customer has returned home. Due to
the high costs involved, only notes and not coins are bought and sold.

Traveller’s cheques

Banks provide traveller’s cheques in sterling and in most major currencies in a variety
of denominations. The former are available immediately on payment of the
appropriate commission. Most branches do not hold stocks of foreign currency
traveller’s cheques and they require to be obtained from head office or the International
Department and either sent to the branch for collection or sent directly to the customer.

Traveller’s cheques are widely accepted throughout the world in exchange for
foreign currency or in payment for goods and services. The customer signs the
traveller’s cheques at the time of issue and then countersigns when they are used.
Passport identification is usually required and an encashment fee is often charged.

Unlike foreign currency, lost or stolen cheques are refundable. Any unused
traveller’s cheques can be sold back to the bank by the customer after returning home.

Plastic cards

Visa and MasterCard, credit cards and charge cards, may be used abroad in the same
way as at home, that is, to obtain cash and to pay for goods and services. Vouchers or
receipts are made out in the local currency and statement details include local and
home currencies. The exchange is at the rate when transaction details are received by
the credit card company. It is also possible for some debit card holders to obtain
currency at ATMs abroad.

Quick question

What cover can be provided with travel insurance?

Write your answer here before reading on.

Travel insurance

Financial setback, illness or stolen luggage are incidences of where customers are
particularly vulnerable when travelling abroad but all the banks can arrange travel
insurance through insurance companies.
An Outline of Bank Services 47

Cover is provided in respect of:

• cancellation and curtailment charges (due to injury, illness of the insured,


relative, etc)

• delayed departure (due to weather, transport failure, etc)

• loss of or damage to personal baggage (usually up to a maximum amount)

• loss of money, documents and passport (usually up to a maximum amount)

• personal accident (death, loss of limbs, etc)

• hospital benefit (in the event of the insured being hospitalised)

• medical expenses (particularly important in North America, for example, where


the cost of medical assistance can be high)

• personal liability (indemnity against legal liability for accidental injury to third
parties or for damage to their property)

• legal expenses and advice.

Although payment of travel costs by credit card provides some insurance cover, it
is very limited. However, some gold cards do offer comprehensive cover and meet
the minimum criteria of the Consumers’ Association.
48 Banking Operations

Question time 2
1 What is the difference between savings and investment?

2 In what ways does an interest paying current account differ from a high interest cheque account?

3 What is a standing order? Is it the same as a direct debit?


An Outline of Bank Services 49

4 What is a contract note?

5 Does an executor require to be named in the will of a deceased person?

6 What do you understand by portfolio management?

Check your answers at the back of the book.


50 Banking Operations

Review

Now consider the main learning points which were introduced in this chapter.
Go through them and tick each one when you are happy that you fully understand
each point.
Then check back to the objectives at the beginning of the chapter and match them to
the learning points.
Reread any section you are unsure of before moving on.

The difference between the saver and investor is their underlying attitude
to risk. Savings are risk free and pay interest. Investments carry an element
of risk, with the returns coming from dividend and/or capital growth. ■
A current account is a traditional type of account which has been offered
by banks for many years. ■
There are a number of different current accounts now available
on the market: ordinary, interest bearing, high interest, basic. ■
ISAs are available to UK residents and until recently were completely
free of income and capital gains tax. There are annual limits on the
amounts that may be paid into this type of account. ■
Personal loans are normally granted for the purposes of consumer purchases. ■
Banks are usually willing to lend customers a certain percentage of any equity
in their homes provided that the bank is granted security over the house. ■
Money transmission is the transfer of money from one party to another. ■
A standing order is a signed authority given by a customer to a bank
instructing the bank to make regular payments from the customer’s
account to a specified party at stated times for a stated period or until
further notice. ■
With a direct debit, the beneficiary instigates the debit and advises the bank
of the amount involved. ■
A bank giro credit is a credit transfer form used by customers for making
non-automated payments to accounts domiciled at a branch or bank other
than the branch where the customer’s account is held. ■
A banker’s draft is a cheque drawn on a bank. ■
Customers may buy and sell shares through their bank. ■
Banks can offer a service, usually through a specialist subsidiary
company, to customers who wish their investments to be completely
managed by the bank. ■
An Outline of Bank Services 51

An executor is someone who is appointed to ensure that the wishes


of a deceased person, as set out in his or her will, are carried out. ■
The difference between insurance and assurance is that assurance is
concerned with certainty, insurance with possibility. ■
Customers may lodge valuables and documents with many banks
for safe keeping. ■
The main travel facilities offered by banks are the purchase and sale
of foreign currency and traveller’s cheques, plastic cards and travel
insurance. ■
52 Banking Operations

Key words in this chapter are given below. There is space to


write your own revision notes and to add any other words or
phrases that you want to remember.

current accounts

money transmission accounts

CHIP and PIN

Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee

interest bearing current account

deposit accounts

investment accounts

personal loans

credit scoring

house purchase loans

equity release/capital release loans

VOCA

Direct Debit Guarantee Scheme

banker’s draft

safe custody

travel facilities
An Outline of Bank Services 53

Multiple choice questions 2


Try these self-test questions to assess your understanding of what you have read in this chapter.
The answers are at the back of the book.

1 Which one of the following is the best example of saving as opposed to investment?

A Benny, who is putting funds aside regularly to provide for his retirement

B Diane, who is building a fund to generate future income

C Meg, who is setting cash aside to buy a new car

D Hugh, who is building a portfolio of shares

2 Which one of the following is the best example of investment as opposed to saving?

A Betty, who is setting cash aside for her holidays

B Liz, who is building up a cash fund for “rainy day” purposes

C Beth, who is cutting expenditure because she is expecting a larger than usual mobile phone
bill

D Lisa, who has opened a personal pension plan for her retirement

3 Which one of the following is most likely to be issued for use in conjunction with a current account?

A Switch/debit card

B VISA credit card

C charge card

D affinity card

4 Overdrafts are normally repayable on which one of the following bases?

A subject to seven days’ notice

B subject to one month’s notice

C on demand

D by negotiation

5 VOCA facilitates the payment of which one of the following?

A both standing orders and direct debits

B standing orders but not direct debits

C direct debits but not standing orders

D neither standing orders nor direct debits


54 Banking Operations

Multiple choice questions 2


6 “A method of transferring funds by which the payee draws the funds electronically from the
payer’s bank.” This is a description of which one of the following?

A bank giro credit

B banker’s draft

C standing order

D direct debit

7 Which one of the following would not be included on a completed bank giro credit form?

A the reference number of the transferee

B the party making the payment

C the sorting code of the bank of the transferor

D the amount to be paid

8 A contract note is used in connection with which one of the following types of banking service?

A executor services

B trustee services

C share dealing services

D investment advisory services

9 A person appointed to ensure that the wishes of a deceased person are carried out is known as:

A a trustee

B an administrator

C an attorney

D an executor

10 An individual who holds and administers assets and property on behalf of another is known as:

A a trustee

B an administrator

C an attorney

D an executor
An Outline of Bank Services 55

Multiple choice questions 2


11 Which one of the following is an example of assurance as opposed to insurance?

A a policy taken out by Maureen and Peter to cover their home and contents

B a travel policy purchased by Nicola, who is going to Ibiza

C a mortgage protection policy taken out to protect Stephen’s mortgage debt if he dies

D Sally’s policy on her motor vehicle

12 Which one of the following statements is true?

A assurance provides for events that may never happen

B the most common types of assurance are for the home and the car

C insurance provides a safeguard against things that may never happen

D insurance and not assurance provides for events that will happen, such as death

13 Retail banks usually offer investment and portfolio management services through which one of
the following?

A the internet

B branch offices

C specialist subsidiaries

D agencies
56 Banking Operations
Customers 57

3 Customers

Objectives

By the end of this chapter, you should be able to:

• Differentiate between the different classifications of customers.

• State the implications of dealing with different types of customers


for the banker.

• Outline the basic anti-money laundering and data protection


regulations.
58 Banking Operations

Introduction

Having looked at the definition of a customer in the first chapter, now we’ll take a
closer look at the different types of customer who have dealings with a bank,
recognising that different types of customers have different requirements and that
different laws govern how they should operate in the community.

The banker therefore has to:

• recognise the category of customer he/she is dealing with

• know the requirements of a bank account for the particular type of customer.

The categories of customers we will look at here are:

• personal customers

• sole traders

• partnerships

• companies

• clubs, associations and societies

• trustees.

You should then have a basic understanding of the main features of these types of
customers and how their bank accounts should operate, although we will take a closer
look at operating customer accounts in the next chapter.

Personal customers

This type of customer is probably the most common type as the vast majority of bank
accounts are held by individuals for personal use. Personal customers include
individuals who hold savings accounts, current accounts, investment accounts, etc
and also those who have mortgages with the bank or use insurance and other services
the bank can provide.

Personal customers may have accounts in their own names or a joint account with
one or more other individuals.

There are also bank accounts for business purposes and we will look at them later.
For now we will concentrate on accounts opened for personal purposes.

There are not too many special considerations when dealing with bank accounts
for individuals. Obviously individuals must comply with the laws of the land and a
banker should always take care to ensure that bank accounts are not being used for
illegal purposes. The main issues we will look at here are the differences between
individual accounts and joint accounts and the special considerations that apply to a
bank’s dealings with individuals under the age of 18, but we will first look at the anti-
money laundering regulations which must be complied with.
Customers 59

Quick question

What do you understand by the term “money laundering”?

Write your answer here before reading on.

Anti-money laundering regulations

Money laundering is the process by which the proceeds of crime are converted into
assets that seem to have a legitimate origin. The assets can either be retained
permanently or recycled into further criminal activities. The objective is to take “dirty
money” and by “washing” it through some legitimate means, such as using
investments, removing it later as “clean money” – hence the term “money laundering”.

In the past, banks have been unwitting accomplices in money laundering by


unscrupulous persons who manage to disguise the origins of their funds by opening
bogus business accounts or by passing money through legitimate businesses. The
sums lodged to the business account are well in excess of what would normally be
expected; for example, sums of say £500,000 being deposited every two or three weeks.

This may at first seem good business for the bank, but if the funds are being paid
away to other parties or withdrawn by the customer, the bank will not obtain any
benefit from the funds and could be facilitating money laundering. On the other hand,
it may be perfectly normal for the business account to be conducted in this manner,
but it is important for the bank to be aware of the type of business the customer is
involved in so that the type of transactions that are likely to occur on the account can
be anticipated.

In this case, if the bank had made initial enquiries and discovered that the customer
acted as an agent for an overseas company engaged to purchase computer software, it
may be perfectly normal for large sums to be deposited in the account from time to
time. However, if you knew that the customer had a small newsagent’s shop, you
would expect to see a very different pattern of lodgements to and withdrawals from
the account.

The regulations require that financial institutions:

• ask all new customers to prove their identity

• check the sources of any one-off transactions exceeding £10,000 (€15,000)

• check the sources of separate or linked transactions over £10,000

• keep adequate records showing evidence of the client’s identity and transactions
for five years; this provision still applies even if the customer has subsequently
closed the account

• maintain internal reporting procedures with one member of staff responsible


for receiving reports of suspicious transactions who should inform and
cooperate with the police.
60 Banking Operations

Firms should have suitable training programmes in place to make staff aware not
only of the policies and procedures, but also of the legal requirements.

There is also an offence of “failing to disclose knowledge or suspicion of money


laundering” if:

• a person knows of, or suspects someone to be engaged in money laundering


even if that knowledge or suspicion is based on it coming to his attention in the
course of his trade, profession, etc

• he does not report it to the Police or HM Revenue and Customs as soon as is


reasonably practicable.

Disclosure does not constitute a breach of confidence.

While there should be a specific individual in the organisation – the Money


Laundering Reporting Officer (MLRO) – who is responsible for monitoring potentially
suspicious transactions, all staff have a legal obligation to report any suspicious
applications or transactions to the MLRO. In such instances, a Suspicious Transaction
Report (STR) should be completed and then reported to the Serious Organised Crime
Agency (SOCA). Once an STR has been lodged, the lender has an obligation not to
“tip off” the individual who is the subject of the STR. The penalty for an offence under
failure to disclose or tip off is: on summary conviction, imprisonment of not more
than six months, or a fine, or both; in indictment, imprisonment of not more than five
years, or a fine, or both.

The organisation must have processes and procedures in place that identify all
deposits that are greater than a predefined amount; these transactions should be
investigated to determine the source of the funds.

Quick question

Write down what you think are the components of an individual’s identity.

Write your answer here before reading on.

An individual’s identity is defined as:

• name

• address at which the person can be found, including the postcode

• date of birth.

Verification must take place within a reasonable time and two separate forms of
verification should be used. You will be familiar with this as your bank will have
procedures in place for verifying a customer’s identity when they wish to open a new
account, etc. The customer’s name and address should be verified independently from
a range of documents that are acceptable for this purpose. Many banks now use
automated identity and address verification systems.
Customers 61

Quick question

What documentation do you look for when verifying a prospective customer’s identity?

Write your answer here before reading on.

The types of documents we look for include:

• driving licence

• credit/debit cards

• passport

• recent utility bill.

In addition to this verification, a credit reference check should also be carried out.
If an application is received by post, phone, fax or the internet, these requirements
must still be met.

Data Protection Acts 1984 and 1998

The Data Protection Act 1984 was primarily intended to create rights for data subjects
to protect their privacy. The Act only covered personal data which is automatically
processed and did not cover the processing of personal data by manual methods nor
did it include information relating to corporate bodies. The 1998 Act replaced the 1984
Act to implement the European Data Protection Directive. It serves to widen the
responsibilities of data controllers and gives new rights to data subjects. The new Act
came into force at the end of 1999.

The 1998 Act extends data protection to manual records, covering personal data
recorded or intended to be recorded as part of a “relevant filing system” so certain
types of manual files will be affected.

■ Definitions

The definitions used in the Act are:

• “data” is any information recorded in a form that can be processed either


manually or automatically by computer, and information that is manually
recorded with the intention of processing it on a computer at some future point

• “personal data” is any data that relates to a living individual who can be
identified; this definition has been widened to include sole traders, partners,
directors and shareholders

• “sensitive data” is data covering race, religion, political issues, health and
gender, and criminal or allegedly criminal offences

• a “data controller” is any person (or company) who holds data and determines
the purpose and nature of processing
62 Banking Operations

• a “data subject” is the person to whom the data relates

• “processing data” means obtaining, amending, augmenting, deleting,


rearranging or extracting data; this must be done in accordance with the eight
data protection principles (listed below).

■ Registration

All data controllers and computer bureaux must register with the Information
Commissioner who is the government official responsible for enforcing the Act.

The information that must be registered is:

• a description of the personal data being or to be processed by or on behalf of the


data controller and of the category of data subject to which they relate

• a description of the purpose or purposes for which the data are being or are to
be processed

• a description of those persons to whom it is intended to disclose or may wish to


disclose personal data

• details of any countries outside the European Economic Area to which it is


intended to transfer personal data either directly or indirectly.

■ Data protection principles

There are eight principles for handling personal data:

1 Personal data shall be processed fairly and lawfully which means that the person
supplying the information should not be misled nor deceived as to why it is
being sought or as to the use(s) to which it may be put. In the case of sensitive
data, the data subject must give his explicit consent to the processing of the
personal data otherwise it can only be processed in certain very limited
circumstances.

2 Personal data shall be obtained only for one or more specified and lawful
purpose(s) and shall not be further processed in any manner incompatible with
that purpose.

3 Personal data shall be adequate, relevant and not excessive in relation to the
purpose or purposes for which they are processed which means that there must
be a reason for obtaining each piece of information from a data subject.

4 Personal data shall be accurate and, where necessary, kept up to date.

5 Personal data processed for any purpose or purposes should not be kept any
longer than is necessary for that purpose or those purposes.

6 Personal data shall be processed in accordance with the rights of data subjects
under the Act.

7 Appropriate security measures should be taken against unauthorised access to


or alteration, disclosure or destruction of personal data and against accidental
loss or destruction of personal data.

8 Personal data shall not be transferred to any country outside the European
Economic Area which does not provide adequate protection for personal data.
Customers 63

■ Rights of data subjects

The rights of data subjects are:

• access to the personal data when requested in writing

• prevent processing likely to cause damage or distress

• prevent processing for the purposes of direct marketing

• claim compensation for damage caused through non-compliance by the data


controller

• rectify, block, insist on erasure or destruction of inaccurate data

• have automatic decisions taken on the basis of their data which significantly
affect them.

Joint accounts

When an account is opened in the names of two or more customers, strictly speaking
operations on the account can only be on the authority of all the parties to the account
which would obviously be totally impractical for a great number of a bank’s customers.

Example
If a husband and wife maintain a joint account, it would be difficult for one of
them to go shopping on their own as they would both have to be present to sign
a cheque. Similarly, it would not be possible for the bank to offer them a facility
whereby they could make use of the bank’s automatic cash dispensing machines
as this involves issuing a card which can only be used by one person at a time.
To make life simpler, our couple could authorise the bank to accept the
instructions of either one of them by signing a mandate authorising the bank to
pay cheques, accept standing order instructions, requests to transfer funds to an
another account and permit withdrawals if the cheque or instruction is signed
by only one of them.

The mandate should be signed by all the parties to the account. It is important that
the customers appreciate what the mandate entails as it would be possible for one
party to pay a large amount of cash into the bank account only to have it withdrawn
by the other party without his/her knowledge. In such circumstances, the bank would
not wish to become involved in any arguments between the customers and can point
to the mandate held.

Quick question

What do you understand by “joint and several liability”?

Write your answer here before reading on.


64 Banking Operations

This type of situation could be even more troublesome if the account became
overdrawn as a result of one of the parties taking money out of the account. This
entails the concept of joint and several liability. If authority has been obtained in terms
of a mandate to allow operations on an account by one or more of the account holders,
they are still only liable jointly if the account becomes overdrawn; that is, each party
is only liable for their share of the debt.

Example
The bank could be in a position where a joint account has been allowed to become
overdrawn to the extent of £10,000 on the strength of the wealth of one of the
parties to the account. If the parties are only jointly liable, the bank could only
look to each party for £5,000, meaning that it would be difficult to recover the
£5,000 due by the party with little means. From the bank’s point of view, it
would be better if they could pursue the wealthy party for the full £10,000 and
this could be done if both parties were jointly and severally liable for any
indebtedness on the account.

Joint and several liability means that, while the parties to the account may between
themselves consider they are only liable for their share of any debt, as far as the bank
is concerned, each party will be held liable for the full amount of the debt. In most
cases, the joint account mandate will contain an undertaking that the parties will be
jointly and severally liable, although this authority could be contained within a
separate document. A bank should also hold an authority from parties to a joint
account stating that each party to the account will be jointly and severally liable even
where no authority is held for joint and several operations on the account.

Customers under the age of 18

The law recognises that people of a certain age may not be fully aware of the
consequences of entering into certain transactions and that such persons should be
protected by the law lest they be taken advantage of. In Scotland the age of legal
capacity is 16. Young people under the age of 16 have no legal capacity; however,
there is an important exception to this rule which allows them to enter into a
transaction of a kind commonly entered into by persons of similar age and
circumstances on terms which are not unreasonable. It is therefore possible for
customers under the age of 16 to hold bank accounts in their own names and many
banks offer accounts which are specially designed for young customers.

Previously the age of legal capacity in Scotland was 18 but this was reduced to 16
by the Age of Legal Capacity (Scotland) Act 1991. But remember that it is still not lawful
for a bank to send someone under the age of 18 information about credit facilities. For
this reason banks will not normally permit borrowing facilities to anyone under the
age of 18.

Quick question

What different types of business customer are there?

Write your answer here before reading on.


Customers 65

Business customers

As well as personal customers, banks have a great number of business customers.


Customers can conduct business on their own as sole traders or be in business with
one or more other persons in partnership, or they can form a limited company. It is
extremely important to recognise which type of business is being dealt with as each is
subject to different laws and requirements.

Quick question

What do you think are the advantages and disadvantages of being a sole trader?

Write your answer here before reading on.

Sole traders

In most respects there is no difference in the manner in which a bank should conduct
its dealings with an individual opening an account for business purposes or for
personal purposes. It is important, however, to ensure that the accounts of the
customer and any cheque books issued detail the customer accurately.

Example
If your customer owns a small newsagents shop called “News International” it
would not be appropriate for the bank account to be styled “News International”
as this particular entity does not exist, it is only a trading name. Similarly it
could be misleading to the public, especially other businesses supplying goods
to your customer on credit if they thought they were dealing with a major
business called “News International”. If your customer’s name is James
Robertson, he should let everyone know that they are dealing with James
Robertson trading as “News International” which is also how the bank accounts
and cheque books should be styled.

It is also important to bear this in mind when having your customer execute any
deeds, especially documents in terms of which security is being granted to the bank
over any assets. As “News International” does not actually exist, therefore it will not
own any assets. The shop and all of the stock actually belong to James Robertson, just
as any debts to bankers and suppliers are due by James Robertson.

Some customers will have their accounts styled “Business Account”, such as “James
Robertson – Business Account” which is perfectly acceptable for cheque books so that
the public can see that they are dealing with an individual.
66 Banking Operations

The advantages of being a sole trader include that:

• it is the simplest business model to set up – all that needs to be done is open the
business account and advise HM Revenue and Customs within three months of
starting to trade

• the owner has full control over the business – there is no one else involved with
the business to consult when making decisions

• there is no need to go to the expense of using an accountant – although many


sole traders will make a commercial decision to do so.

The disadvantages of setting up as a sole trader are that:

• the owner is personally liable for all of the debts of the business, therefore if
things go wrong and the business fails with debts, the owner must repay the
businesses creditors

• to be successful, the sole trader must be multi-skilled, not only in the activity of
the business but also in managing the business

• taking time off or being ill may have a detrimental effect on the business,
although the sole trader may employ other people to work in the business; being
a sole trader means that there is only one owner of the business.

Partnerships

As regards deciding whether or not a partnership is in existence, the law in Scotland


is very simple. Basically, if two or more people are trading together in an attempt to
make profits, then in terms of the Partnership Act 1890 they are in partnership.

Example
James and his wife own the newsagent shop and work in it together. They may
not have set out to form a partnership or realise that they are a partnership or a
firm, but the simple fact that they are trading together for profit makes them a
partnership. Their bank accounts should therefore show the firm’s name.

If your customers did not realise that they were in partnership, they will
probably not have thought of a firm name. The most likely firm names in this
case would be “Firm of James and Elizabeth Robertson” or “Firm of News
International” or “Firm of the Robertsons” or “Firm of James and Elizabeth
Robertson trading as News International”.

Again it is important that members of the public and other businesses know who
they are dealing with. Partnerships as well as individuals are subject to the Business
Names Act 1985. In the case of partnerships, they must state legibly on all business
letters, orders to suppliers and similar documents issued in the course of business, the
name of each partner of the firm.

If your branch or department regularly receives letters from solicitors or


accountants, two very common types of firms, take a look at their letter paper and you
will see that the names of the partners are shown somewhere on the letter.
Customers 67

All the partners’ names do not need to be shown on cheques issued by a firm.

Partnership agreements and partnership mandates

It is usual for partners in a firm to draw up a partnership agreement or a contract of


co-partnery setting out the relationship and the arrangements that have been agreed
between the parties. This partnership agreement will cover such matters as how the
profits (and any losses) of the firm will be apportioned and how the assets of the firm
will be divided in the event of the firm being dissolved.

It is not essential for the partners to draw up a partnership agreement and it is not
necessary for the banker to see a partnership agreement before a bank account can be
opened in name of the firm. The relationship between the bank and the firm will be set
out in the partnership mandate or partnership letter. This authority should be
addressed to the bank and be signed by all of the partners in the firm. In addition to
having each partner sign the letter, the bank should also obtain specimens of how
each partner will sign cheques and other orders on behalf of the firm; for example,
James Robertson may wish to sign cheques “Firm of News International”.

The mandate will also set out how many partners are required to sign cheques
issued by the firm. Usually cheques are signed by any one partner, but occasionally it
is requested that cheques be signed by all of the partners or any two partners or a
particular partner and any other partner or two partners, one of whom must be any
one of X, Y or Z with the other being any one of A, B, C, D or E.

There are other alternatives, the most important consideration for the banker being
that the instructions are clear so that there is no risk of a cheque being paid that has
not been signed properly. The partnership letter should also authorise the bank to
permit overdrafts on the account if this is anticipated.

Quick question

Are partners liable for each other’s debts?

Write your answer here before reading on.

Liability of partners

In Scotland every partner in a firm is liable jointly and severally for all debts and
obligations of the firm incurred while he/she is a partner. The estate of a deceased
partner is liable for the debts of a firm due at the date of death which means that
creditors can look beyond the assets of the firm if they still remain unpaid after all
such assets have been realised; they could, for example, take legal action to take
possession of the dwelling house of one of the partners.

A firm is a legal person, distinct from the partners. The firm has its own assets and
each time there is a change in the make up of the partners, either by the death or
resignation of an existing partner or by the admission of a new partner, a new firm is
effectively created. It is therefore necessary to renew mandates and other authorities
held from the firm.
68 Banking Operations

A new partner is not liable for debts of the old firm and cannot be held liable for
anything done before he/she becomes a partner. A retiring partner remains liable for
debts incurred while he/she was a partner but will not be liable for any debts incurred
by the firm after he/she has notified the relevant party that he/she has ceased to be a
partner. A partner who retires should therefore give notice to the bank in order to
avoid being held jointly and severally liable for debts incurred after his/her retirement.

Where the bank wishes to make an incoming partner liable for the existing debts of
the firm, the firm’s account should be closed by paying into the account the amount of
the overdraft. The cheque issued to clear the overdraft should preferably be signed by
all of the partners of the firm, including the new partner, and should be debited to a
new account in name of the firm.

As each partner in a firm is jointly and severally liable for the debts of the firm, the
bank may lend to a firm solely on the strength of the assets of one of the partners. If
this partner were to resign from the firm, it is obviously important that he/she remains
liable for the debts of the firm incurred while he/she was a partner. This partner will
not be liable for any new debts incurred by the firm after his/her resignation.

To protect its position against the outgoing partner or the estate of a deceased
partner, it is essential that the bank stops operations on the firm’s bank account. This
situation arose in what became known as Clayton’s case and the ruling made there
often applies to similar situations occurring today.

Case study
Devaynes -v- Noble, 1816
– Clayton’s case

Clayton was a creditor of a banking firm named Devaynes, Dawes, Noble, Croft
& Barwick. Devaynes, one of the partners, died, but the firm was carried on in
the same name and Clayton continued to do business with the firm until their
failure. At the time of Devaynes’s death, the sum at credit of Clayton’s account
was £1,713 and on the firm’s failure, the credit balance was even larger. Clayton
claimed against the estate of the deceased partner, Devaynes, for the sum due to
him at the time of that partner’s death.

It was proved, however, from examining Clayton’s account with the bank that
since Devaynes’s death the total sum withdrawn from the account had exceeded
£1,713 and that the balance at credit of the account at the time of the firm’s
failure comprised fresh monies paid into the account after the death of Devaynes.
Clayton’s claim was therefore disallowed.

The basic rule therefore is that the first payment into a bank account is withdrawn
by the first withdrawal. In the case of Clayton, the £1,713 in his account at the time
the banking firm collapsed was not the same £1,713 that was in his account when
Devaynes died. That £1,713 was repaid (and therefore the debt for which the estate
of Devaynes was liable was repaid) as soon as a total of £1,713 had been withdrawn
from the account, notwithstanding that the sum standing to the credit of the account
never fell below £1,713.
Customers 69

This is a very important principle and you should take time to make sure that you
fully understand it. If we look closely at the entries in the following bank account it
may help to give you a better understanding of the rule in Clayton’s case.

Example
The account is that of the firm of X, Y and Z of which the partners are Mr X, Mrs
Y and Miss Z. The account has an overdraft and Mr X retires from the firm (and
notifies the bank) on 31 July 20XX.

Date Paid in Withdrawn Balance Debt due


by X
1 Jan 20XX £50,000DR
5 Jan 20XX £10,000 £40,000DR
7 Mar 20XX £20,000 £60,000DR
4 May 20XX £15,000 £5,000 £50,000DR
31 Jul 20XX £50,000DR £50,000
1 Aug 20XX £10,000 £60,000DR £50,000
2 Sep 20XX £20,000 £80,000DR £50,000
3 Oct 20XX £15,000 £65,000DR £35,000
15 Oct 20XX £10,000 £55,000DR £25,000
26 Oct 20XX £20,000 £75,000DR £25,000
4 Nov 20XX £15,000 £60,000DR £10,000
21 Dec 20XX £10,000 £50,000DR Nil

From this you will see that by 21 December, X was no longer liable to the bank
for any part of the firm’s debt even though the firm was due the bank £50,000
when X resigned and was still due £50,000 on 21 December. Under the rule in
Clayton’s case, the £50,000 due to the bank on 21 December was not the same
£50,000 due to the bank when X retired.

The £50,000 due to the bank when X retired was repaid as follows:

£15,000 on 3 October 20XX


£10,000 on 15 October 20XX
£15,000 on 4 November 20XX
£10,000 on 21 December 20XX
£50,000

whereas the £50,000 due to the bank on 21 December 20XX was made up as
follows:

£10,000 on 1 August 20XX


£20,000 on 2 September 20XX
£20,000 on 26 October 20XX
£50,000

You can see from our example that in order to preserve X’s liability to the bank,
operations on the account should have been stopped as soon as the bank were notified
of his resignation from the firm. The position would have been the same if the bank
had been notified that X had died and they wished to make a claim on his estate.

It is not necessary to stop operations on the firm’s account if the account is in credit
at the time of resignation or death of one of the partners.
70 Banking Operations

Limited liability partnerships

A limited liability partnership (LLP) is a legal entity which is separate from its
members in that each member of an LLP acts as an agent for the partnership. LLPs are
not governed by the law relating to partnerships, but have their own relevant law in
the Limited Liability Partnerships Act 2000 and in the Limited Liability Partnerships
Regulations 2001.

LLPs should not be confused with limited partnerships. An LLP must be registered
at Companies House in the same way as for an incorporated company and will
continue in existence as long as it remains registered and has at least two members.
Unlike incorporated companies, an LLP does not have a Memorandum or Articles of
Association and therefore there is no restriction on the type of business that can be
conducted.

An LLP and any negligent members are liable to the full extent of their assets while
the liability of the other members will be limited. The rights and duties of members to
one another and to the LLP are governed by a confidential agreement between the
members which does not have to be in writing. Profits are shared amongst the
members of the LLP, and the individual members (and not the LLP) pay income tax
on these profits. Unlike limited companies, LLPs do not pay corporation tax.

In most cases the members will be self employed, so they must include details of
any profits they receive or share on their individual self assessment tax returns each
year. Self employed partners are also responsible for paying their own National
Insurance Contributions. It is important that each member of the LLP should register
as self employed with HM Revenue and Customs.

Quick question

What are the advantages and disadvantages of a partnership as a business structure?

Write your answer here before reading on.

The advantages of a partnership are that:

• like a sole trader, it is fairly straightforward to set up, although HM Revenue


and Customs must be advised within three months of the partnership starting
to trade

• as with the sole trader, there is no need to use the services of an accountant,
although many partnerships will choose to use such a service

• there is shared responsibility and so different partners may specialise in running


different parts of the business depending on their individual skills and expertise,
such as one partner dealing with administration, another marketing, and a third
focusing on the production of the product or service the partnership trades in.
Customers 71

The disadvantages of a partnership include:

• the joint and several liability discussed earlier

• the stresses and strains of having to involve other partners in the decision making
process, such as when disagreements arise.

Limited companies

The main features of a limited company are that it is a separate and distinct legal
entity from its members and that the liability of the members is limited. A company’s
members are its shareholders and there can be as few as one member. Each member
invests money in the company by purchasing shares in the company. The only liability
that a member of a company has for the debts of the company is to pay any unpaid
amounts due on the shares he or she has purchased. This means that anyone dealing
with the company, including banks and suppliers, must look only to the assets of the
company and can have no claim on the assets of the members.

You can see how this type of arrangement will be attractive to individuals but less
attractive to those dealing with the company which is why, when lending to limited
companies, a bank will sometimes look for a personal guarantee from the directors,
usually supported by a charge over some other asset, such as their dwelling houses.

Public companies and private companies

Companies can be either public or private. Public companies are generally larger and
their shares may be bought and sold on the stock exchange. The requirements for
forming a public company are much stricter than those for forming a private company.
The name of a public company ends with “Public Limited Company”, “PLC” or “plc”,
whereas the name of a private company ends with “Limited” or “Ltd”.

In this course we will be looking only at private companies.

Quick question

Why do you think it is necessary to have a Certificate of Incorporation?

Write your answer here before reading on.

Incorporation

The issue by the Registrar of Companies of a Certificate of Incorporation is conclusive


evidence of a company’s existence and that all the requirements of the Companies Acts
on incorporation have been complied with.

The Certificate of Incorporation shows:

• the name of the company (ending with the word “Limited”)


72 Banking Operations

• the company number (unique to the company)

• whether the Certificate has been issued by the Registrar in Edinburgh (Scottish
company) or Cardiff (English/Welsh company).

As the company is a separate legal entity from its shareholders, the Certificate of
Incorporation is the equivalent of a birth certificate. If, after incorporation, a company
changes its name, the Registrar will issue a Certificate of Incorporation on Change of
Name. The Registrar may refuse to accept the name if, for example, there is already in
existence a company with the same name or something very similar.

The directors

The business and affairs of a company are managed by the directors of the company
who are elected by the members of the company. A private company may have at
least one director and a Secretary, although it is possible for one person to be both
director and Secretary . In practice it is sometimes the case that the company’s Secretary
will be the customer’s solicitor or accountant.

The Memorandum and Articles of Association

The Memorandum of Association and the Articles of Association are two separate
documents. A company is an artificial entity therefore it must have some form of rules
which set out how the company will conduct its affairs and relationships with third
parties.

The objects of a company, that is, the reason why the company was formed in the
first place and the rules for the company’s dealings with the outside world will be set
out in the Memorandum of Association and the rules for the internal management of
the company, including the powers and duties of the directors of the company, will be
found in the company’s Articles of Association.

The format of a company’s Memorandum of Association is laid down in the


Companies Acts. The Memorandum has five clauses:

• Clause 1 states the name of the company

• Clause 2 states where the registered office of the company will be situated
(country only)

• Clause 3 sets out the objects and powers of the company

• Clause 4 states that the liability of the members is limited

• Clause 5 states the share capital of the company and how it is divided, for
example £1,000 divided into 1000 shares of £1 each.

Clause 3, the objects clause, sets out in detail any objects which the company has
and will include the powers which the company will require to achieve these objects.
The power to borrow or raise money and to grant charges in security of such borrowing
will be specifically mentioned. Thus the objects clause delimits the acts that the
company is permitted to undertake as transactions that are entered into which are
outwith the scope of the objects clause are deemed to be ultra vires and consequently
void. Whilst this ruling was once of paramount importance for companies, the
operation of it has been much restricted by statute.
Customers 73

If James and Elizabeth Robertson in our example decided to form a limited company
to carry out the business of newsagents, the company’s Memorandum of Association
would look something like the following illustration:

The Companies Act 1985 to 1989

Private Company Limited by Shares

Memorandum of Association
of
Robertson’s Newsagents Limited

1 The name of the Company is “Robertson’s Newsagents Limited”.


2 The registered office of the company will be situated in Scotland.
3 The objects for which the company is established are:
i to carry on the business of newsagents
ii to sell newspapers, confectionery, tobacco products and any other products which
can be sold in a newsagents shop
iii to borrow money on such terms as the company sees fit and to grant security for
such borrowing
iv to lend and advance money and to give credit to customers and others
v to own property
vi to invest and deal with the moneys of the company not immediately required.
4 The liability of the members is limited.
5 The share capital of the Company is £20,000 divided into 20,000 shares of £1 each.

In reality, the Memorandum of Association of a company will contain more detail


than our example, but this should give you a rough idea of what is involved. If
possible, try and find a real company’s Memorandum of Association to examine.

A company’s objects may be as wide as the company sees fit, but they must also be
specific. If a company carries on any activity which is not authorised by its
Memorandum of Association the transaction is said to be ultra vires, which means that
it is outwith the powers of the company and the transaction could be set aside.

Case study
Introductions Limited -v-
National Provincial Bank Limited, 1969

Introductions Limited, which was originally formed to provide accommodation


and various services to foreign tourists in this country, changed its activities
and embarked on pig breeding as its sole activity. The company borrowed
£30,000 from the National Provincial Bank against the security of two charges
on its assets.
74 Banking Operations

Five years later the company was wound up, at which time the bank sought to
enforce the charges. The liquidator of the company successfully claimed,
however, that as the company’s Memorandum of Association did not expressly
authorise the activity of pig breeding, the charges were unenforceable as they
had been given as cover for borrowing which was irrecoverable, being for an
ultra vires purpose.

Originally this ruling meant that any transaction later shown to be ultra vires would
be void and, like the case above, any bank that entered into a transaction with a
company that had acted for an ultra vires purpose would not be able to recover their
borrowing. Following the introduction of the Companies Act 1985 and later the
Companies Act 1989, the position is no longer the same. Section 35 of the 1985 Act and
Section 108 of the 1989 Act state that:

“Validity of an act done by a company shall not be called into question


on the ground of lack of capacity by reason of anything in the company’s
memorandum.”

This provides the bank with some protection. It does not stop ultra vires from
occurring; indeed, other directors are still required to ensure that the company does
not act outwith its powers, but banks no longer need to know the contents of a
company’s Memorandum and Articles of Association before lending to them.

As long as the bank acts in good faith, they can assume that the directors acting on
behalf of the company have full authority to do so and therefore loans will be
recoverable even if the transaction later turns out to be ultra vires.

Newly registered companies tend now to include a clause in their Memorandum


allowing them to do anything necessary for carrying out trade or the business of the
company, technically removing the possibility of ultra vires. Despite the protection
given, many banks still ask to see a copy of the company’s Memorandum before
lending to businesses for the first time.

The Articles of Association

A company’s Articles of Association govern the internal working and management of


the company including the powers and duties of the directors of the company. Each
Companies Act incorporates a specimen set of Articles of Association known as Table
A and a company usually does one of the following:

• adopts the whole of Table A

• adopts Table A but amends/extends it with its own Articles

• adopts its own Articles (and ignores Table A).

The most important issue for a bank to consider when examining a company’s
Articles of Association are the directors’ borrowing powers. Any limit or restriction
must be observed, otherwise the borrowing may be held to be ultra vires the directors
and thus open to challenge. If a company has been incorporated under the Companies
Act 1985 and has adopted Table A as its Articles, then the directors have unrestricted
powers to borrow in the name of the company.
Customers 75

However, if the company has been incorporated under an earlier Companies Act,
Table A may contain some form of limitation on the borrowing powers of the directors.
It will be necessary to check the Articles to clarify the position.

If a company wishes to change any of the clauses in either its Memorandum or


Articles of Association, it will be necessary for the members of the company to hold a
meeting and pass a special resolution.

Quick question

What do you think are the advantages and disadvantages of a limited company?

Write your answer here before reading on.

The advantages of a limited company are that:

• the liability of its members is limited

• it may be a more tax-efficient way for some individuals to set up their business

• in some areas of work, being a limited company may give the business added
credibility, such as in activities where subcontracting is the norm.

The disadvantages of a limited company include:

• the setting up costs are higher compared to a sole trader or partnership

• some information about the company is available to the public via Companies
House

• it is necessary to use the services of an accountant at certain times of the year.

Clubs, associations and societies

You will now know that if two or more people trade together for profit, then they are
in partnership. Apart from a few exceptions, the maximum number of people who
can trade together in partnership is 20. There is however no restriction on the number
of people who may form a voluntary association to promote a common interest other
than making of profit; for example, a golf club. Such unincorporated bodies have no
legal personality, and can only raise an action or be sued in name of the members.

The main problem for banks in dealing with such accounts is to ensure that it holds
proper authority for operations on the account in terms of the constitution of the
association, and that where overdraft facilities are granted; responsibility for the
amount involved is fixed, either on the association or on individual members.
76 Banking Operations

When someone becomes a member of a club, they accept the rules of the club. The
liability of a member of a club or association for its debts will depend on the terms of
the constitution, although in practice unless the member has specifically agreed to
accept liability, or has acted as an agent of the association, it may be difficult to establish
that they are liable for the debts of the association.

The members of clubs and associations usually act through their appointed office
bearers and their committees. When dealing with an unincorporated body, and
especially when lending to it, the bank should ask for a copy of the rules and
constitution of the association. The constitution must be carefully examined to
ascertain to what extent the members of the club or association or society have granted
powers to act as office bearers and committees.

An excerpt minute, consistent with the terms of the association’s constitution and
rules, should be obtained of the meeting of the members, or of the appropriate
committee of the club, resolving that the bank account is to be kept at the bank and
containing full instructions regarding the powers of the persons who have been
appointed to operate the account. There may be small clubs with no sets of rules, but
if the bank has obtained a document, in the form of an excerpt minute and signed by
the office bearers, the bank should be able to accept the document as a proper authority.

The opening of accounts in the name of individuals on behalf of associations should


not be encouraged. Difficulties could arise if the individual dies, as any sum standing
to the credit of the account forms part of the deceased’s estate and can only be uplifted
by their executors.

Given the potential difficulties in establishing who is liable for the debts of an
association or club, overdraft facilities should only be granted against tangible security
such as a charge over the association’s premises or clubhouse or against the joint and
several guarantee of some of the members or the committee who are considered by
the bank to be good for the sum involved.

Quick question

What are the circumstances in which a trust may be set up?

Write your answer here before reading on.

Trustees

A trustee is someone who has been appointed to hold and administer property for the
use of third parties. For example, if someone dies leaving a young family, or if someone
wishes to make provision for their family when they are not yet capable of looking
after their own financial affairs, they may create a trust for their benefit and pay money
into the trust or transfer assets, such as a property, into the ownership of the trust.
Customers 77

The document creating the trust is called a trust deed and in terms of the trust deed
someone will be appointed to administer the affairs of the trust for the benefit of the
beneficiaries of the trust.

Another example of a trust is a company pension scheme. A company will transfer


funds to the pension scheme and the funds will be looked after and invested by the
trustee(s) to provide pensions for the employees of the company when they retire.

If a bank is requested to open an account in the name of a trustee, it should first see
a copy of the trust deed setting out the powers and responsibilities of the trustee(s).
Trustees may only borrow from the bank if they have the power to do so. The powers
of a trustee will be set out in the trust deed itself, although in terms of Section 4 of the
Trusts (Scotland) Act 1921, trustees are empowered to borrow on the security of the
assets of the trust for purposes which are in the interests of the trust.
78 Banking Operations

Question time 3
1 What is meant by joint and several liability?

2 Your customer Graeme Wilson calls into the bank to advise that he and his wife have purchased
a shop and they would like to open a business account. How should the cheque book be styled
and what other advice can you give to Mr Wilson?

3 What do you understand by the term “limited liability”?


Customers 79

4 A company has debts of £50,000 when it ceased trading. The company has three directors. What
is the extent of each director’s liability for the debts of the company?

5 What is the rule in Clayton’s case?

6 What is the danger to a bank in lending money to a curling club?

7 What is Table A?

Check your answers at the back of the book.


80 Banking Operations

Review

Now consider the main learning points which were introduced in this chapter.
Go through them and tick each one when you are happy that you fully understand
each point.
Then check back to the objectives at the beginning of the chapter and match them to
the learning points.
Reread any section you are unsure of before moving on.

Money laundering is the process by which the proceeds of crime are


converted into assets that seem to have a legitimate origin. ■
Banks must comply with certain anti-money laundering regulations
when opening and running customers’ accounts. ■
Joint and several liability means that each party to an account will be held
liable for the full amount of the debt. ■
If an individual is carrying on business in his own name and has not formed
a limited company, this person is deemed to be a sole trader. ■
If two or more people are trading together in an attempt to make profits and
have not formed a limited company, they are deemed to be a partnership. ■
Clayton’s case states that the first payment into a bank account is withdrawn
by the first withdrawal. ■
A limited company is a separate and distinct legal entity from its members
and that the liability of the members is limited. ■
A Certificate of Incorporation is conclusive evidence of a company’s existence
and that all the requirements of the Companies Acts on incorporation have
been complied with. ■
The Memorandum of Association contains the rules for the company’s
dealings with the outside world, and the Articles of Association cover
the internal rules of the company. ■
Customers 81

Key words in this chapter are given below. There is space to


write your own revision notes and to add any other words or
phrases that you want to remember.

money laundering

suspicious transaction report

joint and several liability

sole trader

partnership

limited company

Clayton’s Case

limited liability partnerships

Certificate of Incorporation

Memorandum and Articles of Association

ultra vires

Table A

unincorporated bodies
82 Banking Operations

Multiple choice questions 3


Try these self-test questions to assess your understanding of what you have read in this chapter.
The answers are at the back of the book.

1 In Scotland, a person under the age of 16 years may enter into a transaction subject to which one
of the following?

A agreement of a parent or guardian

B the transaction being common for young people and on reasonable terms

C the transaction not being regulated by the Consumer Credit Act 1974

D under no circumstances

2 Judith and Ray have a loan in joint names. They owe £5,000 in total. If Judith dies, Ray is liable for
the whole debt, and vice versa. Legally their obligation is:

A joint

B several

C joint or several

D joint and several

3 For a bank, the main difference between dealing with an individual and dealing with a sole trader
is which one of the following?

A the sole trader’s interest is treated differently for income tax purposes

B the sole trader carries limited liability whilst the individual does not

C the sole trader’s assets are protected by specific legislation

D there is no difference in the manner in which the bank conducts its dealings with either

4 Which one of the following statements is true in the context of partnership accounts?

A all partners are normally severally liable

B it is not necessary for all the names of the partners to be shown on cheques

C there is no need for a mandate to define the signatories

D a partnership letter need only be signed by the senior partners


Customers 83

Multiple choice questions 3


5 Jock is about to retire as a partner in his firm. Which one of the following statements is true?

A Jock will remain liable for debts incurred by the firm while he was a partner but will not be
liable for debts incurred after notification of retirement

B Jock will incur no liability for any debts once he retires

C Jock will be liable for all debts incurred by the partnership before and after his retirement

D Jock may rescind his liability for all debts as long as he does so in writing to all the partners

6 Which one of the following is the correct term to be used in the name of a private limited company?

A plc

B and Co

C limited

D incorporated

7 Which one of the following issues a Certificate of Incorporation?

A Department of Trade and Industry

B Secretary of the company to be incorporated

C Directors of the company to be incorporated

D Registrar of Companies

8 The powers of a company are set out in which one of the following?

A Memorandum of Association and the Certificate of Incorporation

B Articles of Association and the Memorandum of Association

C Memorandum of Association only

D Articles of Association only

9 The rules for the internal management of a limited company may be found in which one of the
following?

A Memorandum of Association and the Certificate of Incorporation

B Articles of Association and the Memorandum of Association

C Memorandum of Association only

D Articles of Association only


84 Banking Operations

Multiple choice questions 3


10 The shareholders of a limited company are referred to in company law as:

A promoters

B members

C directors

D creditors

11 The reasons why a company was founded and the main activities of the company are set out in
which one of the following?

A the association clause

B the authorised capital clause

C the limited liability clause

D the objects clause

12 If a limited company adopts Table A Articles of Association, what is the extent of its directors’
borrowing powers?

A they have unrestricted borrowing capability

B restrictions on borrowing will always be set out in the Memorandum

C the company cannot borrow at all

D the company may borrow subject to the authorised capital clause

13 The maximum number of people who may form a voluntary association to promote a common
interest is which one of the following?

A ten

B twenty

C fifty

D there is no maximum

14 The manner in which profits are to be divided between partners is set out in which one of the
following?

A Memorandum of Association

B Articles of Association

C partnership agreement

D partnership letter
Customers 85

Multiple choice questions 3


15 You receive a cheque drawn on “The Firm of News International”. This indicates that the bank
account is conducted on behalf of which one of the following?

A a private limited company

B a partnership

C a sole trader

D an association
86 Banking Operations
Operating Customer Accounts 87

4 Operating Customer
Accounts

Objectives

By the end of this chapter, you should be able to:

• Explain why banks need to ingather information on both new and


existing customers.

• State why accounts may be closed and describe what should be done
to close an unsatisfactory account.

• Outline the actions to be taken on receipt of notice of the death of a


customer.

• Describe the actions to be taken to control accounts, including the


work of collections and recoveries departments.

• Explain why banks charge certain customers.


88 Banking Operations

Introduction

We have just looked at most of the types of customers that will come into contact with
a bank and at some special considerations and requirements that the banker should
bear in mind when dealing with such customers. Now we’ll take a more general look
at the operation of customers’ accounts, at the bank’s requirements when a bank
account is opened or closed and at what action should be taken by a bank on being
notified of the death of a customer.

We’ll then go on to look at why and how a bank monitors operations on a customer’s
account, particularly accounts on which borrowing facilities have been granted and
consider one or two of the possible options when a customer is unable or unwilling to
repay borrowing facilities. We’ll end with a brief look at the charges levied by banks
for their services.

Opening accounts

When a bank account is opened it is vitally important for the bank to obtain as much
information as possible about the new customer, particularly if borrowing facilities
are being contemplated. You will also recall from the last chapter that banks must
obtain specific information from a prospective customer to comply with anti-money
laundering regulations.

A bank is not obliged to accept anyone as a customer and it would be unwise to


open an account unless the bank is completely satisfied as to the character and standing
of the applicant. As much information as possible about a new customer can be
obtained by using standardised application to open account forms as well as carrying
out some form of customer profiling at the same time.

Quick question

What do you understand by customer profiling?

Write your answer here before reading on.

Customer profiling is an activity where the bank finds out as much information as
possible about a customer’s circumstances, their background and aspirations. This
information is usually stored electronically and is updated during each meeting with
the customer. The information contained within the profile is used to match the bank’s
products and services to the needs and wants of the individual customer.

It has been held that a banker who fails to take proper precautions when an account
is opened has acted with negligence. Where a banker, in good faith and without
negligence, credits a customer’s account with a cheque and then receives payment of
the cheque from the bank on which the cheque was drawn, and it later transpires that
the customer who lodged the cheque did not have proper title to it, the banker does
not incur any liability to the true owner of the cheque.
Operating Customer Accounts 89

Case studies

Ladbroke -v- Todd, 1914

A cheque was stolen from a pillar box by a third party who impersonated the
payee and opened a bank account with the cheque. The bank made no enquiries
as to the new customer’s identity or character and was therefore held to have
acted negligently and was liable to reimburse the true owner of the cheque.

Savory & Company -v- Lloyds Bank, 1932

Two stockbroker’s clerks who had stolen cheques belonging to their employers
paid the cheques into bank accounts. In one case a cheque was paid into an
account in the name of the clerk and in the other the cheque was paid into an
account in the name of the wife of the clerk. The court held that there was
negligence on the part of the bank in both cases because it did not obtain proper
references. In the case where the cheque was lodged to an account in the name
of the wife of one of the thieves, the bank was held to be negligent as, at the time
the account was opened, it did not obtain the name of the customer’s husband
and details of his employment.

In addition to obtaining all the necessary information about a new customer before
any operations can be permitted on the account, the bank must also arrange an
appropriate mandate which will govern how operations on the account are conducted.

Quick question

What are the implications of joint and several liability?

Write your answer here before reading on.

In the case of an account in the name of two or more customers, it is usual for a
mandate to be granted in favour of the bank permitting operations on the account by
any one of the parties. You will recall that the bank should also be granted an
undertaking by the customers that each one of them will be jointly and severally liable
for repayment of any indebtedness that may occur. If two or more customers are
jointly and severally liable for a debt, it means that each person is liable for the full
amount of the debt.

If the bank does not have an undertaking from the customers that they will be
jointly and severally liable for repayment of the debt, in the case of an account in the
name of three customers, each customer would be liable for a third of the debt which
could be detrimental to the interests of the bank, especially if only one of the customers
had the means to repay the debt.
90 Banking Operations

In the case of a partnership wishing to open an account, the bank must obtain a
partnership account letter or mandate. Each partner in a firm is jointly and severally
liable for the indebtedness of the firm but the position will be put beyond doubt by
taking a partnership mandate.

As we discovered earlier in this course, when an account is to be opened in the


name of a limited company, the bank should obtain an excerpt minute from the
meeting of the directors of the company at which it was resolved that a bank account
be opened and how operations on the account should be conducted. There is usually
a standard preprinted excerpt minute for completion by the company.

The bank should also obtain sight of the company’s Certificate of Incorporation
which is conclusive evidence that all of the requirements for incorporation of a
company have been complied with and that the company is in fact in existence.

Operations on customers’ accounts

Provided that all the necessary stages have been completed for opening an account, a
customer’s account should operate smoothly and not be a cause for concern.
Operations on customers’ accounts should nevertheless be monitored, as often this is
the best way of keeping informed of changes in the customer’s circumstances and
may provide an early warning that a customer is in financial difficulty.

If overdraft facilities have been permitted on the account or if any other borrowing
facilities have been permitted, it is vital to monitor operations on the customer’s
account at all times to be satisfied as to the safety of the advance that has been granted.
If there are early warning signs that things are not as they should be, action can be
taken to assist the customer and at the same time protect the bank from loss. We shall
look at the control and monitoring of accounts later.

An important principle to remember regarding operations on a customer’s account


is that the first lodgement into an account is withdrawn by the first withdrawal on the
account. We looked at this principle and the rule in Clayton’s case when we discussed
partnerships, but it is worth going over again as this is important if an account is
overdrawn.

Example
Rule in Clayton’s case

£1,000 is held at credit of an account. The balance on the account six months
later could still be £1,000 but if there have been any transactions on the account
the £1,000 held in the account will not be the same £1,000 that was in the account
originally. Some or all of that £1,000 would have been repaid as withdrawals are
made and would be replaced by “new” funds lodged to the account.

You will remember that a partner is only liable for the debts of a firm incurred
while he was a partner and later you will discover that if a bank has a charge over a
property and is subsequently advised that some other party has been granted a charge
over the same property, the bank’s charge will only cover sums outstanding at the
time the creation of the second charge is intimated.
Operating Customer Accounts 91

In both sets of circumstances, unless in the case of a second charge being granted,
the only borrowing secured by the charge stands for reduction only – such as a house
purchase loan or a term loan – it will be necessary for the bank to stop operations on
the account in order to preserve its position.

If operations are allowed to continue, any lodgements to the account will reduce
the amount secured by the charge or due by the retiring partner and any further
withdrawals will be classed as nova debita (new debt) and will not be covered by the
charge or be capable of being due by the retiring partner.

It is important therefore that if during the course of operations on any account


anything happens which involves a change in the parties liable for a debt or the
obligations secured by any item of security, it is essential that operations are stopped
to preserve the bank’s position and to prevent the rule in Clayton’s case from working
to the detriment of the bank.

Example
If the balance of the account at the date of creation of the security was Dr £100,000
and the balance of the account as at today’s date is Dr £150,000 and it is found
that £80,000 has been credited in total to the account since the date of creation,
then the security will be available for £130,000 of the current balance as this is
the total of the sums which have been debited to the account since the date of
creation:

Debtor (customer) Balance at date of creation £100,000


Deduct Total Credits since date of creation 80,000
… Unpurified amount = 20,000
Debtor (customer) Balance at today’s date 150,000
… Nova debita on the account = £130,000

The security therefore has purified to the extent of £130,000 of this £150,000 debt
and if the security were successfully challenged at this stage the bank rank as an
ordinary creditor to the extent of £20,000.

Quick question

What are reasons for closing an account ?

Write your answer here before reading on.


92 Banking Operations

Closing accounts

There are several reasons why an account may be closed, such as:

• the account may have become dormant and it is convenient for the bank for the
account to be closed

• the customer may wish to close the account and will have a variety of reasons
for doing so.

In such circumstances it is quite straightforward and all that will be required is for
the customer to withdraw the balance of the account. In the case of a current account,
the customer should be requested to return the cheque book. Any plastic cards on
issue to the customer should be destroyed. If there are any cheques or card payments
still in circulation, sufficient funds can be left in the account to enable the outstanding
cheques and card payments to be paid. If requested, a bank can also transfer the
balance of a customer’s account to another branch of the bank or to another bank.

In cases where the account has become dormant and the bank is unable to trace the
customer, the balance of the account can be transferred to an internal account for
dormant accounts or unclaimed balances. This does not mean that the bank
appropriates the funds but that the balance of the account will always be available to
the customer should they ever arrange to collect it.

Quick question

What might be considered “unsatisfactory” in the operation of a bank account?

Write your answer here before reading on.

Where the conduct of a bank account has become unsatisfactory and it is desirable
from the bank’s point of view that the account be closed, this should be done as quickly
as possible. A bank will view as unsatisfactory conduct:

• cheques being issued without arrangements being made to enable them to be


paid on presentation

• repeated inconvenience to the bank by arrestments being lodged (an arrestment


is an order served on the bank compelling it to hold funds held to the credit of
the customer named in the arrestment as attached for the benefit of the party on
whose behalf the arrestment has been lodged)

• any other circumstances which causes the bank embarrassment or


inconvenience.

Allowing that the account is to be closed as soon as possible, it has been held in the
past that a banker must give reasonable notice of intention to close the account. What
constitutes “reasonable” notice would depend on the individual circumstances.
Operating Customer Accounts 93

However, the Banking Code states that 30 days notice of the intention to close the
account should be given to the customer, except in the instance of fraud, threatening
or abusive behaviour, etc.

The correct procedure is for the customer to be advised that the bank wants the
account to be closed.

So far we have only considered the position when the customer’s account is in
credit; however, it could be argued that it is more likely that a bank will wish an
account to be closed if it is overdrawn, especially if this is without the bank’s prior
approval. Overdrafts are repayable on demand and in such cases the bank should
request the customer to refrain from issuing further cheques or making card payments
and to lodge sufficient funds to repay the outstanding overdraft and also enable any
outstanding cheques and card payments to be paid.

Where the account is overdrawn and the bank wishes to terminate the relationship,
the bank would of course be justified in returning unpaid cheques which would
increase an unauthorised overdraft, although the bank would be on dangerous ground
if it dishonoured cheques while the customer was operating within an agreed overdraft
limit.

Once the bank has advised the customer that the account is to be closed and any
lodgements will be placed in permanent reduction of the outstanding debt and
sufficient time has been allowed to enable cheques and card payments in the clearing
system to be paid within a previously agreed overdraft limit, should the customer
advise the bank that they were lodging funds to the account and that these funds have
been paid in specifically to cover a cheque that had just been issued by the customer,
the bank would not be on safe ground in dishonouring such a cheque. The customer
could argue that specific provision had been made to enable the cheque to be paid and
that the bank is therefore guilty of wrongful dishonour.

In most cases it would be hoped that the bank and the customer will be able to
come to some amicable agreement which could even mean that the bank grants
increased facilities to the customer if they can put forward a good enough case on
why the bank should continue to support them. In the event of the customer being
unwilling to cooperate, then the bank may have to take remedial action.

Quick question

What actions are necessary on receiving notice of the death of a customer?

Write your answer here before reading on.


94 Banking Operations

Death of a customer

A bank has a duty to honour its customers’ payments and to permit operations on
customers’ accounts in terms of the mandate held. On the death of a customer any
mandates fall and the bank no longer has any authority to pay items drawn on the
account.

Notice of death

Notice of the death of a customer may reach the bank in several ways – perhaps via
the notice of death columns in local newspapers, but more commonly by notification
by a relative of the deceased or by any other person, although if there is any doubt as
to the reliability of the information, the bank should verify the position before taking
any action.

Action by the bank

The authority of a bank to pay cheques drawn by a customer ceases as soon as notice
of the customer’s death is received. If cheques are presented for payment after notice
has been received, they must be returned unpaid and marked “Drawer Deceased”.
This also applies to cheques covered by a cheque guarantee card, or having the
customer’s debit card number recorded on the reverse and is below the guarantee
threshold. The same rule applies for standing orders, direct debits and card payments
presented after intimation of the customer’s death.

Transactions on the account will normally be stopped, although in some


circumstances lodgements will be accepted on the understanding that no sums can be
withdrawn from the bank account until the bank receives appropriate instructions.

When information is received as to the solicitors acting for the deceased customer’s
representatives, they should be contacted and provided with a note of the balance of
the accounts held and information on any other effects of the deceased held by the
bank in safe custody.

Administration of the deceased’s estate

The balance standing at credit of the bank account, together with all other property
owned by the deceased, will form the estate of the deceased. On death, it is usual for
whoever is dealing with the estate to ascertain the extent of the estate and to ensure
that all debts and obligations are satisfied and the remainder distributed to the entitled
parties.

If someone dies leaving a will they are said to have died testate and their estate will
be distributed in accordance with the terms of the will. If someone dies intestate,
without leaving a will, their estate will be distributed amongst their relatives in
accordance with the laws of intestate succession. If no relatives can be traced, the
estate will fall to the Crown as ultimus haeres (the ultimate heir).

The administration of the deceased’s estate is undertaken by an executor who may


be nominated in the deceased’s will, in which case he or she will be an executor
nominate, or, if the deceased died intestate or the will did not nominate an executor,
the executor may be appointed by the court on petition in which case he or she will be
an executor dative.
Operating Customer Accounts 95

The document of title of an executor to act in administering the estate of a deceased


person is the executor’s confirmation which is issued, upon petition, by the Sheriff
Court. As the name suggests, this confirms the appointment of an executor. Attached
to the confirmation is an inventory of the estate which should contain amongst other
things a note of any credit balance held with a bank and any items held by the bank in
safe custody. As soon as confirmation in favour of an executor is obtained, it will be
exhibited to the bank which is then authorised to pay over any funds held against the
discharge of the confirmed executor(s).

Before making payment, the bank should take a formal note of the details of the
confirmation, including:

• the names and addresses of the executors

• the Sheriff Court issuing confirmation and the date of issue

• the items with which the bank is concerned as these appear in the inventory.

If the inventory omitted details of the bank account, no funds should be paid over
until the executor has lodged a further inventory and obtained an addition to the
inventory (an eik) on which he was confirmed.

It may be that the estate of a deceased customer is relatively small or that the bank
account will form the deceased’s entire estate. In such cases the executors may not
wish to go to the trouble and expense of petitioning the court for confirmation and,
depending on the balance of the account, the bank may be prepared to pay the funds
to an executor against their discharge and guarantee or discharge and indemnity in
terms of which an undertaking is given to the bank to repay the funds uplifted should
a claim be made on the bank at a later date by any party claiming to be the rightful
owner of the funds.

In some instances the bank may request that the discharge and guarantee/
indemnity is joined in by an insurance company as surety. In the case of a customer
dying intestate, the bank may consider paying the funds to a surviving spouse or all
of the surviving children against a discharge and guarantee/indemnity.

When an account is overdrawn

Once again no items should be honoured after the bank is aware of the customer’s
death. As soon as the name and address of the solicitors acting in the winding up of
the estate is known, they should be provided with a note of the sums due to the bank.
The solicitors should also be provided with a note of any outstanding interest, the rate
of interest being charged and should be advised that interest will continue to accrue
on the overdraft until it is repaid.

Quick question

What is the value – to the customer as well as the bank – of monitoring the operation of the
account?

Write your answer here before reading on.


96 Banking Operations

Control of accounts

Before an account is opened, as much information as possible should be obtained


about the customer, but this is not enough – how the account is developing should be
an ongoing process. Not only will this allow for opportunities of matching relevant
products to the customer‘s needs, but will also ensure that the operation of the account
and the use of borrowing facilities does not get out of line with the arrangements
agreed at the beginning. Close monitoring of an account should also provide early
warning signs that a customer may be in financial difficulty.

Most banks have a central or regional department responsible for controlling and
sanctioning higher value lending to customers. Staff in branches normally have a
certain amount of discretion to approve and renew facilities without reference to the
central department.

The amount of the lending limit may be determined by:

• the credit scoring facilities available

• the type and value of security offered by the customer

• the experience and competence of the member of staff.

In this section we shall look only at the control of advances at branch level.

Quick question

What sources of information do you have about your customers?

Write your answer here before reading on.

Sources of information

Customers provide banks with a great deal of information about their lifestyles and
financial circumstances, often without realising it:

• Card payments – looking at the beneficiaries of card payments will inform you
how a customer is spending his/her (or the bank’s!) money; a large payment by
card or cheque can indicate a large purchase by the customer; also payments for
round amounts may indicate that the customer is making payments to account
with another credit provider.

• Standing orders and direct debits – these will give you a good idea of a
customer’s regular commitments; a standing order to a finance company could
indicate a deterioration in the customer’s financial circumstances or possibly a
lost selling opportunity for the bank; an increase in the amount of the monthly
standing order to a building society could mean that the customer has moved
house or obtained a top-up mortgage or capital release loan.
Operating Customer Accounts 97

• Credits to the account – is the customer’s salary mandated to the bank? If so, the
name of the customer’s employer (although this should already be known from
the opening of the account) and the current level of his/her salary will be known.
If credits of this nature were to suddenly stop, the customer may have lost their job.

• Discussions with the customer – these can take place at meetings between the
bank and the customer or during the course of an informal conversation over
the counter when the customer calls into the bank.

• Conduct of the bank account generally – what use is being made of overdraft
facilities? Are there signs that the customer is living outwith their means or is in
financial difficulty? If the overdraft balance exceeds the amount of salary, then
hard core borrowing could develop. This can be a sign that the customer is
living beyond their means.

• Opinion requests – what is the customer planning that has triggered this request?
Perhaps they are arranging funds from a finance company or competitor bank?

• Arrestments – this can be a sign that the customer is experiencing difficulties.

• Annual accounts and cash flow forecasts – information about the business
customer’s financial position.

Daily report on overdrawn balances

This is a key daily monitoring tool used to monitor customers’ accounts. The form
and content of the report may vary from bank to bank but the following example will
give a rough idea of the information that can normally be found in the report:

Daily Report for Northtown Branch 23 May 20XX

A/C No Name Bal Limit Excess Fwd Last


Post moved
112748264 Wilson J & M £2507dr £2500 £7 £45 21/5

122441153 Walker I £4500dr £4750 3/1

162337649 Jackson J & J £5993dr £6000 22/5

253661182 Browns Limited £8572dr £8000 £572 £250 19/5

152263094 Stewart J & A £4657dr £4500 £157 21/4

Quick question

What does the report tell you about J & J Jackson?

Write your answer here before reading on.


98 Banking Operations

In this case the customers are operating within their limit and would not normally
be a cause for concern, but the credit limit is under some pressure. Further
investigation may be required here to ascertain whether there are fluctuations in the
account and if it swings into credit from time to time or if there is a significant “hard
core” element of the overdraft.

Quick question

What are your thoughts on I Walker?

Write your answer here before reading on.

The balance of this account is well within the agreed limit, but it is of some concern
that the account has not moved for almost six months. Why have there been no credits
to the account? Has the customer ceased trading or is he an individual who has lost
his job? Remedial action may be necessary here to avoid loss to the bank and this
account may be referred to the department dealing with collections and recoveries.

Quick question

Would you be prepared to pay the cheques drawn by J & M Wilson and Browns Limited?

Write your answer here before reading on.

It’s not possible to determine whether or not the cheques should be paid from the
limited information available and further investigation is required. In the case of Mr
and Mrs Wilson, they are at present only £7 over their limit and if the forward posted
items are paid, the excess would increase to £52. The bank may be prepared to pay the
cheques although it may also consider contacting the customers requesting that funds
be lodged to the account as soon as possible as the bank cannot guarantee that it will
pay any further cheques issued.

The situation with Browns Limited is slightly different as the amount of the
facilities, the over-limit position and the amount of cheques presented are all
significantly greater than in the case of the Wilsons. You may consider that the cheques
should be returned unpaid which would of course have an adverse effect on the
business in the eyes of its suppliers who may then take action to recover sums due to
them. Alternatively they may refuse to make any further supplies to the company
unless on “cash on delivery” terms which could seriously affect the future of the
business.
Operating Customer Accounts 99

Obviously it is essential to consider who the payees of the cheques are. Supposing
the business operates from leased premises, what would happen if the bank refused
to pay a cheque to the company’s landlord in respect of the rental? However, if the
cheques are retained at a central processing unit, it may prove difficult to ascertain the
names of the payees of individual cheques.

Quick question

Finally, what would you propose for Mr and Mrs Stewart?

Write your answer here before reading on.

There is a £157 excess on the account but no cheques have been presented today.
The account has not moved for over a month. Were the cheques which created the
excess paid on the understanding that funds would be lodged within a few days or
weeks? Perhaps it is time to contact the customers and find out what their proposals
are for reducing the overdraft to within the agreed limit.

Formal reviews

In accordance with normal banking practice, overdrafts are repayable on demand,


but it is usual for overdraft facilities to be granted subject to annual review on the
strict understanding, of course, that the bank can call for repayment at any time. It is
customary to review facilities regularly to:

• check whether or not the facilities at the current level are still required

• check that the customer has not been misusing the facilities

• compare the account history with the projections provided at the time the facility
was approved or last renewed.

The review will normally involve a meeting between the bank and the customer at
which the continued need for the facilities will be discussed. If the customer is in
business, the annual review will normally coincide with the production of the
customer’s balance sheet and profit and loss account. Analysis of financial statements
is a specialist skill and will not be covered in this course. The banker, however, can
compare the level of profit made with the profit that the customer predicted that
would be made. If the customer has not made any profit but incurred a loss, the reasons
for this should be ascertained and action taken by the customer to ensure that no
further losses are incurred. At the end of the review meeting, the banker – if satisfied
with the proposals discussed – will usually renew the facilities for a further period.

Remedial action

Sadly, there will be occasions where, despite every effort being made by the bank to
monitor accounts and keep borrowing within agreed limits or have borrowing repaid
in accordance with the agreed repayment programme, the bank will have no
alternative other than to take remedial action to obtain repayment of the facilities and
prevent or minimise loss to the bank.
100 Banking Operations

The bank will normally call for immediate repayment of the facilities within a given
timescale, say 7 or 10 days. It is unlikely that the customer will be able to make full
repayment within that time and the bank will probably accept a substantial payment
to account together with acceptable proposals for repayment of the remaining sum.

At this point it should be noted that if the borrowing is in the name of individuals,
a club or a partnership, then the borrowing is subject to the terms of the Consumer
Credit Act 1974 (as amended) and strict procedures require to be followed by the bank
if it wishes to take action to recover the sums due. If calling up notices or default
notices (in terms of the Consumer Credit Act) do not elicit the desired response, the
bank will probably refer the position to a central department responsible for the
recovery of advances.

Quick question

What is the difference between collections and recoveries?

Write your answer here before reading on.

Collections and recoveries departments

Collections will occur earlier on in the process of managing irregular (or, as they are
often called, delinquent) accounts. The aim of the collections process is to bring the
account back onto a regular footing, whilst preserving the long term relationship with
the customer. Most banks will conduct their collections activities in-house, rather than
by outsourcing them. Often a bank will look at its collections operation as an extension
of its customer services function.

Recoveries, on the other hand, will deal with irregular accounts after collections
have concluded their activities with these customers and the account is still irregular.
The aim of a recoveries department is to collect the debt whilst severing the
relationship with the customer. Recoveries actions usually involve third parties,
perhaps by the use of external debt collection agencies, or through use of the courts.

There is a statutory requirement for a default notice to be sent to a customer before


payment of the full outstanding balance can be demanded. This default notice is a key
action at the end of the collections and the start of the recoveries phases.

Quick question

What are default notices and call up notices and what is the difference between them?

Write your answer here before reading on.


Operating Customer Accounts 101

The default notice is issued first and is an explanation to the customer that they
have breached the terms of the agreement. The call up notice comes after the default
notice and is issued only when the bank is holding security. The purpose of the call up
notice is to call up the security – not the debt, therefore, if a customer has not given the
bank security, they would only receive a default notice. Prescribed documentation
has been introduced from early 2008 as a result of the Consumer Credit Act 2006.

Quick question

How may an account become irregular?

Write your answer here before reading on.

How an account may become irregular

There are several reasons why a customer’s account may become irregular. In the
majority of cases, these are brought about by a change in the customer’s circumstances
and/or an inability on the customer’s part to manage their finances.

Examples
• Loss of job, marital breakdown or illness – these can disrupt the customer’s
lifestyle and also result in a loss of income. The combination of these
circumstances may result in short or long term payment problems.

• Missed payments due to, say, an oversight or the customer being away on
holiday or business. In the majority of these cases, the customer will make
the payment within a month and will rarely have contact with the collections
department.

• Incorrect set up of direct debit resulting in a payment not being made by the
due date.

• Disputes with the bank – the customer decides to withhold payment and
may continue to do so until the dispute has been resolved.

• The customer living above their means.

No matter the cause, if the customer’s account has become irregular, it will soon be
referred to the collections department.
102 Banking Operations

Options to recover debt

A number of options are open to a bank to obtain recovery of a “doubtful” debt.

If the bank holds security for the obligations of the customer, it can take steps to
realise the security which could involve evicting the customer from their house and
selling it to repay bank borrowing, or surrendering a life policy which the customer
has given the bank as security. This is obviously a very serious course of action which
would normally only be taken by the bank in extreme circumstances and after a great
deal of thought.

The bank can refer the matter to their solicitors or to a specialist debt recovery
agency who will pursue the customer for recovery and may petition the courts to
grant decree against the customer in favour of the bank. Once decree has been granted
in favour of the bank, it can be enforced in a number of ways. The Bankruptcy and
Diligence, etc (Scotland) Act 2007 has introduced new diligences, such as land
attachment, money attachment, interim attachment, residual attachments.

The bank can arrange for Sheriff Officers to lodge an arrestment in the hands of any
party which owes money to the customer. This will have the effect of preventing the
customer access to the monies which will be attached to the order of the bank. The
bank may be aware, for example, that the customer has a savings account with another
bank or a building society and an arrestment lodged in the hands of the other bank or
building society would prevent the customer from withdrawing the funds and, on
completion of further action, would enable the funds to be remitted to the bank in
repayment or reduction of the customer’s debt. In view of the nature of this type of
action it is common for arrestments to be lodged in the hands of banks seeking to
attach funds due by them to their customers.

If the customer is in employment, it would be possible for the bank to arrange for
a wages arrestment to be lodged in the hands of the customer’s employers. It is not
possible to arrest all of the customer’s wages as the law seeks to ensure that customers
in this position are not left without any funds to meet essential household and living
expenses.

If a customer owns property which is not subject to a charge in favour of the bank,
it would be possible for the bank to arrange for an inhibition to be lodged against the
customer which would prevent them from selling any property which they own.

Through their legal agents, the bank can petition for the sequestration of a customer.
If the court agrees, the customer‘s property and assets will be controlled by a qualified
insolvency practitioner appointed as the customer’s trustee who will arrange for those
assets of the bankrupt customer which are capable of being realised to be sold and for
the sale proceeds to be distributed amongst all of the bankrupt‘s creditors who have
lodged a claim with the trustee.

In the case of a limited company, the bank can seek to put the company into
liquidation which is broadly similar to sequestrating an individual. A liquidator will
be appointed who will take control of all the company‘s assets. The liquidator will
attempt to sell off assets and the proceeds will be distributed by way of a dividend to
all the company’s creditors. In the event of the assets of the company being insufficient
to repay each creditor the full amount owing, the dividend will be scaled down to a
pro rata share of the sum due and will be expressed as so much per pound.
Operating Customer Accounts 103

Example
If it were 75p per £, and the bank were owed £10,000 by the company, it would
receive £7,500. Unless it held directors’ guarantees, the bank would probably
have to write off the remainder of the debt.

If the bank held a bond and floating charge, it could appoint a receiver to administer
the company‘s affairs. Receivership is a complex process the details of which are not
included here, but it is worthwhile remembering that while a liquidator acts in the
best interests of all the creditors of a company, a receiver looks after the interests of
the bond and floating chargeholder only. This is one of many good reasons for taking
a bond and floating charge from a company.

Quick question

For what kind of services can a bank charge its customers?

Write your answer here before reading on.

Operations on customer’s current accounts involves work and expense for the bank
and the bank is entitled to make a charge to cover staff costs as well as the costs of
providing cheque books and other items of stationery, plastic cards, etc. In the past,
the charge for personal customers was based around the number and type of
transactions passing through the account during a charging period; however, it is
now common for a fixed fee to be levied to accounts that are liable for service charge.
Banks may also make a charge on each occasion that it is necessary to write to a
customer informing them that their bank account is not being operated in accordance
with the agreed arrangements and requesting that corrective action be taken.

Quick question

What is a referral fee?

Write your answer here before reading on.

A referral fee is a charge made by a bank when a customer’s account becomes


irregular – in other words, an account with no agreed overdraft facility becomes
overdrawn, or an account with an agreed overdraft facility becomes overdrawn in
excess of the agreed amount. The referral fee is the charge made by a bank to cover
their costs in deciding whether to pay or return unpaid the items that are causing the
irregular position to occur.
104 Banking Operations

This has been an extremely unpopular charge in the view of customers who feel
that the charges levied to their accounts are far in excess of the costs incurred by the
banks. Several consumer groups have led campaigns to assist customers in their
attempts to have these fees reduced or even refunded. At the time of writing, a test
case is pending, the outcome of which may affect the level and indeed whole future of
these fees.

At present, most banks do not make any charge as long as current accounts remain
in credit for the charging period although, provided that sufficient notice was given
to customers, this arrangement could end. It would then be open to banks to levy
service charges even if the account remains in credit or to raise the minimum balance
required to enjoy “free” banking. However, bank charges are a hot consumer issue at
the moment and much will depend upon the outcome of the test case.

In the case of businesses, charging per debit item may not adequately remunerate
the bank as a great deal of the work involved in maintaining the account may be
counting cash lodgements paid in at the counter. In such cases the service charge will
usually be calculated based on the number and type of transactions passing through
the account. For example, if there is a high volume of cash transactions, the charge
will normally be higher than if most of the transactions through the account are
electronic – and thus cheaper for the bank. It is also possible for a business to negotiate
a fixed service charge fee in advance, based on the estimated activity on the account.
This charge will be applied to the account each month.

At present, most banks will not charge a new business during its first year of
operation. Others may extend this concession further; for example, only charging 50%
of the service charge during the second year of operation. Some banks offer a “free
business banking for life” service which operates by putting a ceiling on the amount
of transactions passing through the account on a monthly basis; for example, £3,000
cash and 150 items. Provided the business customer operates within these parameters,
the bank promises not to levy service charges. There are sometimes other conditions
associated with this, such as lodgements may be made only through an ATM rather
than over the counter.

It is a requirement of the Banking Code that the level of bank charges is


communicated to customers and not increased without reasonable notice being given
to the customer. It is therefore usual for a bank to write to a customer advising them
of the charges that will apply to their account and how the charges will be calculated.
Once such a letter has been issued, the bank will not be able to increase the level of
charges until the term of the letter expires.

In addition to service charges for the day-to-day operation of current accounts,


banks will also charge an arrangement fee to remunerate the bank and cover the costs
involved in arranging and agreeing a loan.

Adults with incapacity

There may come a time when, because a person is incapable of managing their
property and financial affairs or personal welfare, they will need someone to do this
for them. A friend, relative or professional may then be appointed to hold a lasting
power of attorney allowing them to act on that individual’s behalf. A power of attorney
is a legal document that allows an individual to appoint someone they trust as an
attorney to make decisions on that person’s behalf.
Operating Customer Accounts 105

The Adults with Incapacity (Scotland) Act 2000 provides ways in which it is possible
to safeguard the welfare and finances of individuals aged 16 and over who do not
have the capacity to make some or all decisions on behalf of themselves, due either to
a mental disorder or an inability to communicate. The Act allows other people to
make decisions on behalf of the incapacitated person and also allows capable
individuals to make provision of another person or persons to make decisions on
their behalf in the potential event of them losing their capacity at some point in the
future.

There are several ways in which decisions or actions can be taken on behalf of an
incapacitated adult. These interventions may cover property or financial affairs or
personal welfare matters, including healthcare. When deciding whether to intervene,
the following principles must be applied:

• the intervention must be necessary and must benefit the adult

• the intervention must be the minimum necessary to achieve the purpose

• the person’s present and past wishes and feelings must be taken into account

• the views of the adult’s nearest relative and primary carer and any other person
with the power to intervene in the adult’s affairs or personal welfare must be
taken into account.

• the adult should be encouraged to use any skills that he or she has.

Capable adults may arrange for their welfare to be safeguarded and for their affairs
to be managed in the future should they lose their capability. This is done by giving
another person – who could be a relative, a carer, a professional person, or a trusted
friend – power of attorney to look after some or all of their property and financial
affairs. This may extend to making specified decisions about the adult’s personal
welfare, including medical treatment.

All continuing and welfare powers of attorney granted from 2 April 2001 must be
registered with the Public Guardian in order to be effective. Individuals – usually
relatives or carers – can apply to the Public Guardian to gain access to the funds of an
adult who is incapable of managing them. Authorised care establishments can also
manage a limited amount of the funds and property of those residents who are not
able to do so themselves.

Individuals can apply to the Sheriff Court for:

• an intervention order where a one-off decision or short term help is required,


such as selling property or signing a document

• a guardianship order which is more appropriate where the continuous


management of affairs or the safeguarding of welfare is required.

A local authority or any person claiming an interest in the adult’s affairs may make
applications for interventions or guardianship orders.
106 Banking Operations

Question time 4
1 What is the correct procedure for a bank paying the balance standing to the credit of an account in
the name of a deceased customer?

2 What is the effect of the lodging of an arrestment in the hands of a bank?

3 What information can a bank obtain about customers by examining their bank accounts?

4 One of your customers maintains a current account on which there is presently a creditor balance
of £357. The account has just returned to credit after a period of six months when it was overdrawn
without the prior approval of the bank and you now wish the bank account to be closed. How
should you proceed?
Operating Customer Accounts 107

5 What are the benefits of conducting an annual review with a customer?

6 What is the rule in Clayton’s case?

7 What should a banker bear in mind before dishonouring a cheque drawn by a business customer?

8 You note from the local newspaper that your customer James McGregor died two days ago. He
maintained a current account with a creditor balance of £2,500. A cheque for £50 has today been
presented for payment. What is the correct procedure to be followed by the bank?

9 What is the difference between testate and intestate succession?

Check your answers at the back of the book.


108 Banking Operations

Review

Now consider the main learning points which were introduced in this chapter.
Go through them and tick each one when you are happy that you fully understand
each point.
Then check back to the objectives at the beginning of the chapter and match them to
the learning points.
Reread any section you are unsure of before moving on.

When a new account is opened, the banker should obtain as much


information as possible about the customer. This information should
be updated throughout the life of the account. ■
An account may be closed if it has become dormant, if the customer wishes
to close the account or if the bank gives notice that it wishes the account to
be closed. ■
A bank has a duty to honour its customers’ cheques and to permit
operations on customers’ accounts in terms of the mandate held.
On the death of a customer any mandates fall and the bank no longer
has any authority to pay cheques drawn on the account. ■
By close monitoring of an account, any early warning signs that
a customer is in financial difficulty should soon become apparent. ■
The aim of the collections process in managing irregular accounts is
to bring the account back on to a regular footing, whilst preserving
the long term relationship with the customer. ■
Recoveries deal with irregular accounts after collections have
concluded their activities and the account is still irregular. The aim
of a recoveries department is to collect the debt whilst severing the
relationship with the customer. ■
Operations on customer’s current accounts involve work and expense
for the bank and the bank is entitled to make a charge for its services. ■
Operating Customer Accounts 109

Key words in this chapter are given below. There is space to


write your own revision notes and to add any other words or
phrases that you want to remember.

customer profiling

nova debita

arrestment

testate

intestate

ultimus haeres

confirmation

default notice

collections and recoveries

referral fee
110 Banking Operations

Multiple choice questions 4


Try these self-test questions to assess your understanding of what you have read in this chapter.
The answers are at the back of the book.

1 Under Scots law, a person named in a will to administer the estate of a deceased person is known
as which one of the following?

A administrator

B executor-nominate

C executor-dative

D attorney

2 Under Scots law, if a person is appointed by the court to deal with the estate of a deceased person
who has not left a will, the person is known as which one of the following?

A administrator

B executor-nominate

C executor-dative

D attorney

3 Kenneth has a loan with ABC Bank, set up as a regulated loan under the provisions of the
Consumer Credit Act 1974. The Bank has decided that there is no prospect that Kenneth can repay
the debt. In this instance it will issue which one of the following?

A an arrestment

B a default notice

C a calling up order

D a calling in order

4 The primary responsibility of a liquidator is to which one of the following?

A the company in liquidation

B the creditors of the company in liquidation

C the trustee

D the shareholders of the company in liquidation


Operating Customer Accounts 111

Multiple choice questions 4


5 Danny owes a substantial amount of money to the bank. He owns assets to the value of £100,000,
but these have not been used as security for the borrowings. Which one of the following is the
bank most likely to pursue in order to prevent him from selling these assets?

A liquidation

B receivership

C inhibition

D trusteeship

6 Which one of the following is not a purpose of a formal review of a customer’s overdraft facility?

A to determine whether the facility is still required

B to check that the customer has not been misusing the facility

C to compare the account history with projected future performance

D to identify actions that will reduce the overdraft as soon as possible

7 The term ultimus haeres refers to which one of the following?

A the next-of-kin of a deceased person

B the executor-dative appointed in respect of the estate of a deceased person

C the right of the state to the estate of a deceased person if no relatives are traced

D the ultimate beneficiary of a will of a deceased person

8 What is the position in respect of cheques written but not cleared immediately before the death of
an account holder?

A they can be processed in the normal manner

B they can be processed once the estate is confirmed

C the cheques must be processed but marked “deceased”

D they must be returned unpaid

9 If an account is classified as nova debita, what does this mean?

A withdrawals are classed as “new debt” when a partner is retiring

B the overdraft limit has been revised

C the borrower’s total borrowings have been consolidated

D the debit balance on the account of a deceased person has been confirmed
112 Banking Operations
Cheques 113

5 Cheques

Objectives

By the end of this chapter, you should be able to:

• Explain what a cheque is.

• Describe the parties to a cheque.

• State what is meant by “Funds Attached”.

• Describe the significance of a crossing on a cheque.

• Define “truncation”.

• Explain the roles of the paying and the collecting banker.


114 Banking Operations

Introduction

We looked briefly at cheques when we studied the main features of a current account.
As you will be aware, the use of personal cheques has diminished greatly in recent
years, but as cheques play such an important part in banking we will spend this whole
chapter looking at exactly what a cheque is, how a cheque is transferred between
parties and how it finds its way from the person in whose favour it was issued to the
bank account on which it was drawn.

A bank has two roles in the cheque process: customers pay into their bank accounts
cheques which require to be presented to the bank where the account of the person
who issued the cheque is held and the bank has to pay cheques when they are
presented by other banks. Thus we‘ll be examining the roles of the collecting banker
and the paying banker.

Quick question

Write down a working definition of a cheque.

Write your answer here before reading on.

What is a cheque?

A cheque is a document which conveys to a bank an order from one of its customers
to pay money to a third party or to the customer if they wish to draw cash. A cheque
is a bill of exchange, therefore much of the law relating to cheques is set out in the Bills
of Exchange Act 1882. You will not need to study bills of exchange other than cheques
for this course. Basically, a bill of exchange is an order to pay money; they have been
used as a means of transacting business for hundreds of years. The 1882 Act was
supplemented by the Cheques Act 1957 and the Cheques Act 1992. By using the
definitions in these Acts we have the following detailed definition of a cheque:

“A cheque is an unconditional order in writing drawn by one party on


another, who must be a banker, signed by the drawer, requiring the
banker to pay on demand a sum certain in money to or to the order of a
specified person or to bearer.”

This definition is useful in emphasising the main features of a cheque and the
essentials to which a cheque must conform. There are normally three parties to a
cheque:
• the person who issues the cheque and whose bank account will be debited when
the cheque is paid is called the drawer
• the party to whom the cheque is addressed, who must be a banker
• the party in whose favour the cheque is payable and to whom the money is to be
paid is called the payee.
Cheques 115

Some of the essential features of a cheque are:

■ It must contain an order to pay and the order must be unconditional as far as the
banker is concerned; for example, it would not be appropriate for a bank to be
faced with an order to pay someone £250 “if he has finished decorating my house”
or “if she is wearing a green dress”.

■ It must be in writing. Banks issue standard forms of cheques which are completed
by customers. It is not unlawful for a cheque to be written in pencil but banks tend
to actively discourage this practice as they can be easily altered by erasing and
amending either the payee, the amount or both. Businesses which issue large
numbers of cheques may have the cheques including the name of the payee, the
amount and the “signature” printed by computer which is permissible, although
in such cases the customer will normally be expected to grant an indemnity to the
bank as a means of protection should the bank pay a cheque, the issue of which
was not authorised by the customer.

■ It must be drawn for a sum certain in money. The sum may be expressed either in
words or in figures, although in practice, and as a means of preventing fraud and
removing any doubt in cases where the drawer’s writing is not clear, the amount of
a cheque requires to be written in words and figures. Where the amount in words
differs from the amount in figures, the bank will normally return the cheque unpaid
marked “Amounts Differ”.

■ The amount must be payable on demand, that is it is not permissible for a cheque
to be issued requesting the bank to pay in 30 days time. (There is of course nothing
to stop someone from dating a cheque in the future – we’ll look at post dated
cheques later.)

■ A cheque must be payable to or to the order of a specified person.

The drawer

In order to be valid, a cheque must be signed by the drawer, although the signature
may be lithographed by machine or computer. If a customer’s signature on a cheque
is forged, the bank is not entitled to debit the customer’s account. If a bank does pay
such a cheque, the customer must be reimbursed, no matter how skilfully the signature
has been forged.

The drawer should act responsibly when issuing cheques and take care to ensure
that cheques are drawn in a clear manner and that all reasonable steps have been
taken to reduce the opportunity for fraudulent alterations by third parties.

Quick question

What steps could you, as a customer, take to reduce the likelihood of a fraudulent alteration to a
cheque?

Write your answer here before reading on.


116 Banking Operations

The customer can assist the banks in their fight against crime by writing their
cheques in a responsible manner. If a cheque is written in block capitals in ballpoint
pen it is more difficult to alter than, say, a cheque written in fibre tip pen, especially if
the standard of handwriting lends itself to alteration. The customer should also take
care not to leave spaces between any words or figures on the cheque. A customer may
issue a cheque for:

£100 ONE HUNDRED POUNDS

but if the cheque is not completed in a responsible manner, it may not be too difficult
for some dishonest person to alter the cheque to:

£100,000 ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND POUNDS

Case study
London Joint Stock Bank -v- Macmillan
and Arthur, 1918

This case established the principle that if a customer is careless in the manner in
which they draw a cheque and fraudulent alteration of the cheque is facilitated,
then it is the customer and not the bank that should bear any loss.

Obviously it is important that when a customer issues a cheque, they should ensure
that there are funds in the bank account or that an authorised overdraft has been
agreed to enable the cheque to be paid when it is presented for payment.

The payee

A cheque may be made payable to or to the order of a specified person or to bearer.


Where the cheque is not payable to bearer, the payee must be named. A cheque may
be payable to two or more persons jointly or to one person of two or more, for example
James or Fiona Smith; or to one or some of several payees, for example any two of
James and Fiona Smith, William George, John and Anne Rutherford or Gordon
Johnstone; or to the holder of an office, for example the treasurer of Edinburgh
Kayaking Club.

Cheques are sometimes drawn payable to “Cash” or “Wages” and are generally
looked upon as being payable to bearer.

Date

In practice all cheques are dated when they are issued, but in terms of the Bills of
Exchange Act, a cheque is still valid even if it is undated. Any person in lawful
possession of a cheque which is incomplete in any material particular may fill in any
omission (except the signature). If the bank is presented with a cheque for payment
and the cheque is undated, in terms of the law, the bank may insert the date but in
practice banks refuse to pay cheques that have not been dated by the drawer. The
banks’ view is that although the drawer may have signed the cheque, he may not have
intended that it should be issued and paid.
Cheques 117

A cheque is valid even although it is post dated, that is it bears a date later than the
date of issue; however, the bank on which a post dated cheque is drawn should decline
to honour the cheque until the date stated on the cheque. It could be the case that the
drawer of the cheque dies or is declared bankrupt or places a stop on the cheque
before the date stated on the cheque. If that bank had already paid the cheque it may
be necessary to reimburse the customer, therefore this is an area which requires care.

A cheque can be regarded as stale if it has been in circulation for what is considered
an unreasonably long time. What constitutes a reasonable time has never been legally
defined, but the practice in Scotland is for banks to regard cheques more that six
months old as being stale and to obtain the confirmation of the drawer prior to making
payment. Alternatively, the banker may return the cheque unpaid, marked “Out of
date”.

Alterations on cheques

Any alteration to a cheque must be made with the consent of the drawer who should
either sign or initial at each point on the cheque where an alteration has been made.
Where there are two or more drawers, they must all authorise the alteration by
signing/initialling at the appropriate place on the cheque.

If a bank pays a cheque which has been materially altered, it may be necessary to
reimburse the customer if the alterations have not been authenticated. Similarly, where
a cheque has been torn into pieces and pasted back together again it would not be
advisable to pay the cheque without obtaining the confirmation of the drawer as they
may have intended to cancel it.

A negotiable instrument

A cheque is a negotiable instrument which means that it can be negotiated for value
and may be passed from one party to another and that it is a useful method of settling
business transactions. An important feature of a negotiable instrument is that when it
is transferred, title to the instrument passes from hand to hand by delivery.
Instruments which are merely transferable, for example a share certificate, need some
other form of document executed – in the case of a share certificate a stock transfer
form – or some other process before title is actually transferred.

As you will see when you study the section of this chapter on cheque crossings, it
is now very unusual for cheques to be passed from one person to another in this way.
There is, however, one exception to this.

Quick question

What do you think this exception is?

Write your answer here before reading on.


118 Banking Operations

The exception we are looking at here is the services provided by some organisations
in the high street who, amongst other things, offer a cheque cashing service. An
example of this type of organisation is “Cash Converters” who will cash third party
cheques for people who do not have a bank account. There is, of course, a charge for
this service.

Quick question

Can you think of any other negotiable instruments?

Write your answer here before reading on.

Other examples of negotiable instruments are bearer bonds, promissory notes, other
types of bills of exchange and, of course, bank notes. A cheque is negotiable because,
by the simple act of indorsing it and handing it over, the payee can transfer to someone
else the right to receive the amount stated in the cheque. We will also consider crossed
cheques and the terms of the Cheques Act 1992 which restrict the ability of a cheque to
be transferable and therefore to be a negotiable instrument.

Attachment of funds

In Scotland, where a banker has funds available for the payment of a cheque drawn
on the bank, the cheque operates as an assignment of the funds held. For example, if
a customer has in his current account a credit balance of £300 and he writes a cheque
for £500 but with no overdraft facility, the banker will return the cheque unpaid. The
sum of £300 will be “attached” however and should be transferred to a separate
account specifically referring to the cheque that has been dishonoured.

In the case of two or more cheques being presented at the same time, say for £250
and £200, the banker cannot decide which cheque will be paid and which returned. In
such circumstances, unless the banker is prepared to pay both cheques and thus create
an overdraft on the customer’s account, both cheques should be returned and the sum
of £300 should be attached to both cheques in proportion.

In cases where the customer’s account is overdrawn but there are still funds
available to pay cheques, for example if our customer had arranged an overdraft
facility of £500 and his account was £250 overdrawn on a day that two cheques are
presented, both for £200, it would be open to the banker to pay one of the cheques,
taking the overdraft up to £450. The remaining £50 of available overdraft would not
be attached to the cheque being returned as this sum is not funds of the customer
which can effectively be assigned by the cheque. The £50 available to meet further
cheques is actually the bank’s funds.

The holder of a cheque that has been returned unpaid who is aware that funds
have been attached – and there is no reason why a bank cannot divulge such
information – may offer to deliver up the cheque against payment of the balance
attached and in such circumstances the banker must pay the amount due to the holder
of the cheque.
Cheques 119

A final point to note is that if payment of a cheque is “stopped” or countermanded


by a customer, no funds are attached when the cheque is returned unpaid as the banker
is treated as holding no funds for payment.

Crossed cheques

There are only two types of crossings authorised by the Bills of Exchange Act 1882:
general crossings and special crossings.

General crossings

NOT NEGOTIABLE

A/C PAYEE
& CO

Special crossings

NATWEST BANK
NOT NEGOTIABLE

NOT NEGOTIABLE

NOT NEGOTIABLE
OF SCOTLAND
CLYDESDALE

ROYAL BANK
SCOTLAND

BARCLAYS
BANK PLC

BANK PLC
A/C PAYEE

A/C PAYEE
BANK OF

PLC

PLC

A crossing is basically a direction to the bank placed on the face of the cheque by
the drawer that the amount should be paid only to a banker or through a bank account.
There was nothing in the Bills of Exchange Act or the Cheques Act 1957 which prevented
a banker from paying a crossed cheque in cash over the counter, but in such
circumstances the banker would be accountable to the true owner of the cheque should
the wrong person have been paid.

However, the Cheques Act 1992 amended both the Bills of Exchange Act and the 1957
Cheques Act and made all crossed cheques non-transferable. This altered the legal
position of cheques crossed “Account Payee” (which until then had no statutory
authority and did not affect the transferability of a cheque) and provided a statutory
framework within which banks could deal with non-transferable cheques. The 1992
Act also provided more protection to the public by ensuring that such cheques can
only be paid to the payee named on the cheque.

Prior to the 1992 Act, banks generally discouraged the use of non-transferable
cheques in view of what was seen as the practical difficulties in handling them. A
cheque would be non-transferable if the words “or order,” generally preprinted on a
cheque, had been struck out and initialled by the drawer. The words “not transferable”
could also be written across the face of the cheque. A cheque so drawn could only be
paid to the payee specified, and if there is evidence of its having been transferred, the
banker on whom it was drawn should decline payment.
120 Banking Operations

Cheques were generally regarded as negotiable instruments and the drawing of


cheques in non-transferable form was greatly discouraged by banks. Some banks even
had a policy of not permitting their customers to issue such cheques, as non-
transferable cheques placed upon the bank the burden of enquiry as to whether the
correct person was being paid. The Cheques Act 1992 had the effect of making the
following cheques non-transferable which means that they cannot be accepted for
credit for the account of anyone other than the named payee nor should cash be paid
to any third party. Such cheques should only be paid into a bank account in name of
the payee of the cheque:

• cheques payable to a named payee followed by the word “only”

• cheques payable to a named payee and marked “non-transferable”

• uncrossed cheques payable to a named payee and marked “not negotiable”

• cheques marked “Account payee” or “Account payee only”

• cheques bearing wording clearly intended to ensure that they are payable to the
named payee and to no other party.

Most cheques are now issued with a preprinted account payee crossing making
them non-transferable, eliminating the capability of such cheques to be negotiated so
there should be fewer problems for bankers in dealing with cheques.

When a cheque bears an “account payee” crossing, there is no longer any need to
combine it with a “not negotiable” crossing as the “not negotiable” crossing is relevant
only on a cheque payable to “or order”, that is one which is transferable.

On cheques where there is an “account payee” crossing, no endorsement is possible


to allow for transferring the cheque as such cheques are non-transferable.

Truncation

The Deregulation (Bills of Exchange) Order 1996 came into force on 28 November 1996.
This Order:

• amended the 1882 Act to permit notice of dishonour of bills of exchange generally
to be given by facsimile transmission or other electronic means

• inserted a new provision into the 1882 Act to allow cheques to be presented for
payment at an address specified by the paying bank in the London and Edinburgh
Gazettes

• inserted a new provision in the 1882 Act to enable cheques to be presented for
payment by notification of their essential features by electronic means rather
than the actual cheque being physically presented

• amended the 1957 Act to allow a certified copy of an unendorsed cheque to be


accepted as evidence of receipt of payment.

For truncation of cheques, the third point above is important. Until the 1996 Order came
into force, the 1882 Act required that cheques drawn on a particular branch of a bank be
returned to that branch for payment (if the branch address is printed on the cheque).
Cheques 121

Some banks had a central address printed on the cheque and therefore the cheques
had to be presented to that address for payment. Because the clearing of cheques has
now reached the stage where all the essential details of the cheque are recorded
electronically – the serial number, the drawer’s account number, sorting code of the
branch, and the collecting bank adds the amount of the cheque – banks have been
exchanging this data electronically as part of the clearing process.

The full benefit of the electronic exchange of data can only be achieved by truncation
of the cheques, which is the removal of the obligation to send cheques back to the
relevant branch of the paying bank. When a cheque is truncated it is retained at some
point in the clearing process. This can be either at the collecting branch, or at a central
point within the paying bank.

The second point above permits an alternative place for physical presentation of
the cheque if the truncation route is not taken. It means that the paying bank can pay
the cheque if it is physically presented to the address which they have published in
the Gazettes even if it is not the one printed on the cheque. The important point to note
is that it does not enable the holders of the cheques to demand payment at any branch
of the paying bank.

As a safeguard, if a truncated cheque’s details have been received electronically by


the paying bank, that bank, not later than the business day following receipt of
notification of the electronic details, may request that the cheque be physically
presented. This has the immediate effect of rendering void the electronic presentment
of the cheque details.

Quick question

What should the paying banker be particularly aware of regarding payment of cheques?

Write your answer here before reading on.

The role of the paying banker

In the cheque process a bank can play two roles – the paying banker and the collecting
banker. When a customer issues a cheque as a means of settling a payment due,
provided sufficient funds are in the account or the customer has agreed an overdraft
facility with the bank, the customer will expect the cheque to be paid when it is
presented to the bank. Certainly the payee of the cheque will expect payment,
especially if goods or services have already been provided to the customer.

In the event therefore of the cheque being returned unpaid, the customer will be
placed in an extremely embarrassing position with the payee of the cheque and so it is
essential that the bank does not wrongfully dishonour a cheque. If this is done without
justification, the banker may be liable for breach of contract and have to pay damages
for injury to the customer’s credit. In the past, it was deemed that these damages
would be greater for a business customer than for a personal customer, but the
following case changed this.
122 Banking Operations

Case study

Kpoharor -v- Woolwich Building Society, 1995

In this case it was held by the English Court of Appeal that circumstances had
changed since the earlier rule had been formulated. History had changed the
social factors which moulded the rule in the nineteenth century. It was not only
a tradesman of whom it could be said that refusal to meet his cheque was “so
obviously injurious to his credit” that he should “recover, without allegations
of special damage, reasonable compensation for the injury done to his credit”.
The credit rating of individuals was as important for their personal transactions,
including mortgages and hire purchase as well as banking facilities, as it was for
those who were engaged in trade.

In the court’s view there is a presumption of some damage in every case and is not
limited to a business or trading context, and so in future cases it is likely that a personal
customer whose cheque is wrongfully dishonoured may be able to claim substantial
damages without having to prove a special damage which hitherto would have been
necessary.

If the bank is at fault in this way, a letter of apology should be sent to the customer,
the account should be corrected, and the payee should be advised that if the cheque is
re-presented it will be paid, and that no fault at all lies with the customer. This may
help to reduce damages if the customer brings a civil action.

It is the duty of a banker to honour customer’s cheques provided that:

• there are sufficient funds in the customer’s account with the bank or a suitable
overdraft limit has been agreed

• the cheques have been drawn correctly and have been signed by the customer

• there is no legal reason prohibiting payment.

Are there funds available to enable a cheque to be paid?

The banker must exercise great care to ensure that there are customer’s funds available
for payment of a cheque that has been presented. In cases where the customer only
maintains one account with the bank, the position is obviously a very simple case of
checking to see that the balance on the account, or the unused portion of an agreed
overdraft, is at least equal to the amount of the cheque. A check should be made, of
course, that all entries to the customer’s account have been processed and that the
balance on the account is therefore correct.

Funds may have been paid into the customer’s account by bank giro credit at
another branch of the bank or at another bank. If the bank dishonours a customer’s
cheque before becoming aware that funds have been paid in via this method, it will
not be liable for damages, unless of course this was as a result of the bank’s negligence
or an error by the branch in processing the credit entry.
Cheques 123

Quick question

What is the one certain identifier of a cheque?

Write your answer here before reading on.

Prohibiting payment of a cheque

Section 75 of the Bills of Exchange Act 1882 recognises two circumstances when a bank
will legally be prohibited from making payment of a cheque:

• countermand of payment by the drawer

• notice of the customer’s death.

Countermand of payment or a customer’s instruction to “stop” payment of a cheque


should be communicated to the bank in writing. The drawer of the cheque should
provide the bank with sufficient information for the cheque to be identified and
stopped. The serial number of a cheque has been held in court to be the one certain
means of identifying a cheque.

Example
If a bank pays a cheque after its authority to do so has been countermanded by
the customer, the bank will not be entitled to debit the customer’s account, but
if the bank were requested to stop payment on cheque number 0023415 for £125
payable to J Smith and the correct serial number of the cheque was 0023416, the
bank may be entitled to assume that cheque number 0023416 was issued as a
replacement for cheque number 0023415 which was perhaps lost or stolen and
would not be liable if cheque number 0023416 were paid. This is a fairly frequent
occurrence when the bank is asked to countermand a cheque.

When a cheque is drawn by one party to a joint account, payment may be stopped
by the other party. Similarly, if a cheque has been issued by a firm or a limited company
and has been signed by one partner or director, payment may be stopped by any
partner or director or in fact any signatory to the account.

If a cheque is presented to the bank for payment through the clearing system the
banker has until close of business that day to decide whether or not the cheque will be
paid. The customer can therefore countermand payment of a cheque that is already
with the banker if payment is countermanded at some time before close of business
on the day on which the cheque is presented to the banker through the clearing system.

A final point to note here is that if a banker pays a cheque, payment of which has
been countermanded by the drawer, not only will he be unable to debit the customer’s
account, but also will be unable to recover the amount involved from the person who
received payment unless this person did not act in good faith. In such circumstances,
the onus would be on the bank to prove that the payee or holder of the cheque did not
act in good faith.
124 Banking Operations

Quick question

How does a customer’s death affect the banker’s authority to pay?

Write your answer here before reading on.

Notice of a customer’s death terminates a banker’s authority to pay the customer’s


cheques. The notice may be from one of the relatives of the deceased or from any other
reliable source, including intimation in a newspaper. Cheques issued by a company
and signed by a director are not affected by the death of the director. Similarly, cheques
issued by a firm and signed by a partner can still be paid notwithstanding the death of
the partner that has signed the cheque.

Quick question

As well as the two statutory reasons which we have discussed, what other reasons do you think
would terminate the banker’s authority to pay?

Write your answer here before reading on.

There are other reasons for terminating a banker’s authority to pay cheques
including:

• notice that the customer has been declared bankrupt, or in the case of a limited
company, notice that it is to be wound up or is to have a liquidator, receiver,
administrator or administrative receiver appointed

• the customer’s insanity – formal declaration by a qualified person and the


appointment of someone to look after the affairs of the insane person (not the
banker’s personal opinion!)

• knowledge of any defect in title of the person presenting the cheque for payment.

The lodging of an arrestment in the hands of a banker will not terminate the
authority to pay the customer’s cheques, but the balance on the customer’s account
will be attached and the banker will be unable to pay cheques unless he/she is
prepared to grant an overdraft to the customer.

Forgery of the drawer’s signature

Where the customer’s signature has been forged on a cheque, the banker cannot debit
the account if the cheque is paid. You will remember that a cheque is an unconditional
order in writing drawn by one person on another, who must be a banker, signed by
the drawer.
Cheques 125

If the customer’s signature has been forged, the cheque is not the customer’s
genuine order in writing. The fact that the forgery may be very skilfully done and that
it is almost impossible to tell the forged signature from the genuine signature provides
no comfort. The banker may not be liable if the customer is aware that their signature
is being forged but takes no action to inform the bank and possibly enables the bank
to avoid future loss. This is highlighted in the following case.

Case study
Greenwood -v- Martins Bank Limited, 1931

The wife of a customer forged cheques on his account. She subsequently


confessed to her husband, who took no action until after her death. He then
sued the bank to recover the money paid but was unsuccessful as the judge in
the case took the view that it was the customer’s duty to inform the bank of the
forgery as soon as he knew of it.

The role of the collecting banker

Bankers are also asked to collect cheques for their customers. In many cases the cheques
will not be drawn on the bank but on other banks or perhaps other branches of the
same bank. When the bank accepts such cheques from its customers it takes on the
role of the collecting banker.

When collecting cheques for one of its customers, the bank is exposed to the danger
that it may collect and receive payment for a cheque to which, owing to fraud or
forgery, the customer has no title and may therefore find itself liable to the true owner
of the cheque. Fortunately, in terms of Section 4 of the Cheques Act 1957, the bank has
statutory protection in such circumstances provided it acts in good faith and without
negligence and acts for a customer. Where a banker, in good faith and without
negligence, credits a customer’s account with the amount of a cheque and then receives
payment for the cheque and the customer has no title, or a defective title, the banker
does not incur any liability to the true owner of the cheque.

Quick question

Who is a customer and who is not a customer?

Write your answer here before reading on.

You will remember from the first chapter that it was not particularly easy to define
who was and who wasn’t a customer, yet in order to benefit from the protection in
Section 4 of the 1957 Act, the banker must act for a customer. There is no definition in
either the Bills of Exchange Act or the Cheques Act 1957 as to whom is to be regarded as
a customer. Obviously if someone maintains an account with the bank, then that
person is a customer.
126 Banking Operations

It is important to determine, however, at which point the person actually becomes


a customer. Does someone who asks the bank to collect a cheque and credit the
proceeds to a new account with the bank immediately become a customer or must
there be a course of dealing between the bank and the customer before he/she can
truly be regarded as a customer?

The common view is that, as the law stands at present, a customer is a person for
whom a bank has opened an account, and the relationship of banker and customer
begins when the first cheque is paid in and accepted by the bank for collection and not
merely when that cheque is paid.

There is nothing in the Acts to tell us what is meant by in good faith and without
negligence; however, through time there have been several court cases, the outcome
of which have given indications on what is expected of a bank acting “without
negligence”. The courts have taken a stringent view of the banker’s duty to act without
negligence when collecting cheques, as the following examples illustrate.

Case studies

If a bank fails to obtain satisfactory references for a new customer, the failure to
do so may be regarded as negligent.

Ladbroke -v- Todd, 1914

A crossed cheque was stolen from a pillar box by a third party, who forged the
payee’s indorsement, impersonated him and opened an account with the bank
to which the cheque was credited. The bank made no enquiries as to the new
customer’s character and was held to have acted for a customer but to have
acted negligently.

A bank will be guilty of negligence if it collects for a customer who is a director


of a limited company, a cheque made payable to the company and indorsed by
the director, on behalf of the company to his own order.

A L Underwood Limited -v- Bank of Liverpool


and Martins Limited, 1924

The sole director of a company came into possession of cheques payable to the
company. The director was called A L Underwood and the cheques were payable
to A L Underwood Limited and Underwood held all of the shares in the
company but one. Underwood indorsed the cheques on behalf of the company
and paid them into his own account. The bank made no enquiries and accepted
the cheques for credit of the account.

A third party who had been granted a charge over the company’s assets raised
an action against the bank and it was held in the case that the actions of the
director were so unusual as to put the bank on enquiry and the failure of the
bank to make suitable enquiries amounted to negligence on the bank’s part.
Cheques 127

Similarly a bank should not credit the account of a partner of a firm with cheques
payable to the firm unless it makes enquiries and is completely satisfied that the
transaction is in order.

Where operations of an unusual or abnormal character occur on an account, the


banker must be vigilant. If the operations on the account are incompatible with
the known circumstances of the customer, it should put the bank on enquiry.

Guardians of St John, Hampstead -v- Barclays Bank Limited

The opening of an account with a small cheque one day followed by the paying
in of a large cheque the next day was one of the incidents which led the Court to
find the bank guilty of negligence.

Accepting a cheque crossed “Account Payee” for someone other than the named
payee has for some time been regarded as acting negligently. The position has been
put beyond doubt by the Cheques Act 1992 which prohibits such practice in all but a
very small number of circumstances.

System for clearing cheques

When a cheque is issued it can take some time to reach the bank account on which it
was drawn. We shall now take a look at how a cheque finds its way from the customer’s
cheque book to their bank account.

The method of clearing cheques may vary from bank to bank but the basic principles
remain the same. When a cheque is issued, the payee of the cheque will take it and any
other cheques payable to them (and any cash) to their bank and have their account credited
with the total sum. The cash paid in does not need to clear or be confirmed by anyone.

The cheques paid in fall into two categories:

• those that have been drawn on the same branch of the bank as the one where the
payee is making the lodgement – sometimes called house cheques

• those that have been drawn on other branches and other banks.

The cheques that have been drawn on the branch of the bank where the payee is
paying in should not be too difficult to deal with – the banker will look at the cheques
and decide whether they will be paid or dishonoured; if they are to be paid they will
be debited to the drawers’ accounts. If any cheque is to be dishonoured, it will be
returned to the person making the lodgement. As soon as a house cheque has been
paid, the payee can have full credit for its proceeds.

The cheques that have been drawn on other banks and branches are not quite as
straightforward. These cheques must find their way to the account-holding banks
and branches in order that the relative bankers can make a decision on whether or not
the cheques are to be paid.
128 Banking Operations

We shall look at how this is done shortly, but you can see that there is a potential
problem for both the payee and the payee’s banker:

• the payee has provided goods or services but even when the cheques received
from customers are lodged to their account, it is still not certain that they have
been paid

• the banker has permitted funds to be credited to the account in the name of the
payee, but has no guarantee that he will not have to debit the account at a later
date should the cheques not be honoured when they are presented to the relative
account-holding bankers.

Quick question

What do you think would happen if the payee were to issue cheques on the strength of the funds
lodged to their account and shortly after all or some of the cheques lodged were returned unpaid?

Write your answer here before reading on.

The proceeds of cheques that have not yet been paid by the drawee bank are known
as uncleared funds or uncleared effects. Banks will accept uncleared funds for
lodgement into an account and the amount will immediately be added to the balance
of the customer’s account. If a bank statement were produced for the customer the
following day, the full amount of the lodgement would be shown as being credited to
the customer’s account, but the customer would not be entitled to draw against
uncleared funds until they have been cleared. The banker accepting the lodgement
would defer full credit for the amount of uncleared cheques for a number of days.

If cheques were presented prior to the funds being cleared, the banker would be
entitled to return the cheques unpaid. If the banker permitted the cheques to be paid
then, while technically the account of the customer would remain in credit, if the
banker looks at cleared funds only, an overdraft has emerged and the customer will
be charged interest – sometimes called deferment interest.

The cheques that have still to be cleared will be remitted to the bank’s head office.
These cheques fall into two categories:

• those that have been drawn on branches of the bank

• those that have been drawn on other banks.

Cheques that have been drawn on branches of the bank can be passed to them by
head office. Cheques that have been drawn on other banks will be passed to the banks
concerned. The bank should receive payment for the cheques from the head office of
the drawee banks, but it is more than likely that the other banks will hold cheques
which will require to be passed over to the bank. The banks will therefore exchange
cheques and settle for only the net sum due. Once received, the head office of the bank
will pass the relative cheques either to the branches concerned or, more commonly, to
a centralised location.
Cheques 129

You will probably be aware of discontent expressed by customers regarding the


amount of time it takes for a cheque to clear in the UK. This has been expressed not
only by individual customers but also by consumer groups and has featured on a
number of consumer affairs items in the media. In addition, the Labour Party manifesto
of 2005 challenged the banking industry to remove delays from the system. As a result,
changes were implemented at the end of November 2007 to standardise the treatment
of these items by members of the Cheque and Credit Clearing Company and the Belfast
Bankers Clearing Committee.

The information regarding when a deposited cheque will start to earn interest,
when funds may be withdrawn against a deposited cheque and when a cheque may
be reclaimed from a beneficiary’s account is expressed in terms of, for example, “T +
2 (days)”. The precise definition of T will need to be made clear in the terms and
conditions of each account, taking account of branch cut-off times, and it may also
vary according to the way in which the cheque is lodged, for example at an ATM, at a
post office or by post. Normally, for a counter deposit, T will be the day of deposit if
it is made before the advertised cut-off time at the bank counter. If the deposit is made
after this cut-off time, then T would be the following business day. For a postal deposit,
T would be deemed to be the day that the cheque is received by the bank.

Assuming that a cheque has been deposited in an interest bearing account, it will
start either to earn interest or reduce the amount of overdraft interest charged by no
later than T + 2.

Quick question

If a cheque was paid in on a Monday at 10am, when should interest start to accrue on it?

Write your answer here before reading on.

In this case, interest should start to accrue no later than Wednesday.

When a cheque is deposited to a current or basic bank account, it will be available


for withdrawal no later than the start of business on T + 4.

Quick question

If a cheque is paid into a current on Monday at 10am, when should these funds be available for
withdrawal?

Write your answer here before reading on.

In this case, the funds should be available for withdrawal no later than start of
business on Friday.

For a savings account from which withdrawals are allowed, funds will be available
no later than start of business on T + 6.
130 Banking Operations

Quick question

Again, thinking of a cheque paid in at 10am on Monday of this week to a savings account, when
will the funds be available for withdrawal?

Write your answer here before reading on.

In this scenario, the funds will be available for withdrawal no later than start of
business on the Tuesday of the following week.

Regarding the fate of cheques, no cheque will be reclaimed from a beneficiary


customer’s account any later than T + 6 without the agreement of the beneficiary
customer, or unless the beneficiary was a knowing party to a fraud. This proposition
applies to all types of account. The practical implication of this is that if a cheque is
deposited on a Monday, it will be deemed to be irrevocably paid if it has not been
dishonoured or reversed by the close of business on the Tuesday of the following
week.
Cheques 131

Question time 5
1 What is the main provision of the Cheques Act 1992?

2 One of your customers who has a local shop presents her bank statement to you and asks why,
given that her account has remained in credit for the year, she has been charged interest. How
would you explain this situation to her?

3 You are advised that one of your customers has died during the night. The same morning you
receive through the clearing a cheque issued by the customer dated three days ago, a cheque
drawn by Avis Electronics Limited and signed by your customer who is a director of the company
and a cheque signed by your customer as a partner of the firm of Evergreen Electronics. How
would you deal with the cheques?
132 Banking Operations

4 Can a cheque be written out in pencil? If not, why not?

5 What are uncleared funds?

6 You receive a telephone call from one of your customers asking you to stop payment of a cheque.
You note that the cheque was received by you in the clearing this morning. How do you react?

7 One of your customers, Peter Hyde, works in the local supermarket and has his salary lodged to
his account monthly. You notice that the present balance on his account is £300,403 and on further
investigation you note that a cheque for £300,000 was lodged to the account three days ago. A
cheque for £275,000 payable to “J Smith” is in the morning clearing. What do you do?

Check your answers at the back of the book.


Cheques 133

Review

Now consider the main learning points which were introduced in this chapter.
Go through them and tick each one when you are happy that you fully understand
each point.
Then check back to the objectives at the beginning of the chapter and match them to
the learning points.
Reread any section you are unsure of before moving on.

A cheque is an unconditional order in writing drawn by one party on


another, who must be a banker, signed by the drawer, requiring the banker
to pay on demand a sum certain in money to or to the order of a specified
person or to bearer. ■
Any alteration to a cheque must be made with the consent of the drawer who
should either sign or initial at each point on the cheque where an alteration
has been made. ■
A crossing is a direction to the bank placed on the face of the cheque by the
drawer that the amount should be paid only to a banker or through a bank
account. ■
When a cheque is truncated it is retained at some point in the clearing process. ■
If a bank is to return a cheque unpaid, great care must be taken to ensure that
there are no funds of the customer available for payment of the cheque that
has been presented. ■
A bank is legally prohibited from making payment of a cheque if the
customer has countermanded payment, if the customer has died, if the
customer has been declared bankrupt, if the customer is insane or if the
banker has knowledge of any defect in title of the person presenting the
cheque for payment. ■
Where the customer’s signature has been forged on a cheque, the banker
cannot debit the account if the cheque is paid. ■
If a cheque lodged has been drawn on other banks and branches they must
find their way to the account-holding banks and branches in order that the
relative bankers can make a decision on whether or not the cheques are to
be paid. ■
The timescales for clearing cheques were standardised in 2007. ■
134 Banking Operations

Key words in this chapter are given below. There is space to


write your own revision notes and to add any other words or
phrases that you want to remember.

bill of exchange

drawer

payee

post dated

stale cheques

negotiable instrument

attachment of funds

crossings

truncation

countermand of payment

house cheque

uncleared funds/uncleared effects

deferment

deferment interest
Cheques 135

Multiple choice questions 5


Try these self-test questions to assess your understanding of what you have read in this chapter.
The answers are at the back of the book.

1 The person who writes a cheque payable to another party is referred to as which one of the
following?

A the payee

B the drawee

C the drawer

D the creditor

2 Which one of the following is not a requirement for a cheque to be valid?

A it must be in writing

B it must be conditional

C it must be for a sum certain in money

D it must be paid to the order of a specified person

3 Where a banker has funds available for the payment of a cheque drawn on the bank, the cheque
operates as an ____________ of the funds held. Fill in the blank.

A indorsement

B assignment

C attachment

D arrestment

4 What is the consequence of a bank dishonouring a cheque where funds are actually available?

A the bank may be prosecuted

B the bank may be liable to pay compensation

C the bank may be liable to pay damages

D there is no consequence to the bank


136 Banking Operations

Multiple choice questions 5


5 What is meant by the right of set-off?

A the bank can regard debits and credits of equal value to cancel each other out

B the customer can indorse any cheque to his credit to pay any bill outstanding

C the bank can aggregate debit and credit balances on different accounts of the same customer

D the bank can aggregate debit and credit balances on different accounts of the different
customers

6 Which one of the following is a description of house cheques?

A cheques drawn on the head office of the bank

B cheques drawn on the same branch as that of the payee

C temporary cheques issued at the counter pending issue of a new cheque book

D cheques drawn on any clearing bank

7 Richard’s current account is subject to an arrestment, but the bank is continuing to pay his
cheques. What will be the effect of this?

A the bank will be prosecuted

B the bank will debit the account in the normal way

C the bank will be sued

D the bank will have to grant an overdraft to pay them

8 James is a company director. On 2 September he writes and signs a cheque on behalf of his
company. On 3 September he dies. Which one of the following would be the consequence of
James’s death in respect of the payment?

A the cheque must be returned unpaid

B the cheque may be paid but must be countersigned by another director

C the cheque may be processed in the normal manner

D a duplicate cheque must be issued


Plastic and Electronic Banking 137

6 Plastic and
Electronic Banking

Objectives

By the end of this chapter, you should be able to:

• Outline the functions of online and telephone banking.

• Describe what is meant by electronic transfer of funds at the point of


sale and how this process works.

• Explain electronic funds transfer.

• Describe the use of plastic cards in banking.


138 Banking Operations

Introduction

If you have been working in banking for any length of time, you will be aware that the
ways in which customers carry out their financial affairs and communicate with their
bank has altered significantly, especially over the past decade. We are now going to
consider how technology has enabled the range of bank services and money
transmission methods to be extended, particularly online and telephone banking, and
how funds can be transferred electronically. We will also look at the increasing use of
plastic cards, especially credit and debit cards, in banking and money transmission.

Quick question

Describe what you understand by direct banking.

Write your answer here before reading on.

Telephone and online banking

Most banks now offer customers some form of direct banking facility – indeed, some
of the newer players in the market operate solely as direct banks. With direct banking,
the customer has access to their account 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, by telephone
or internet, identifying themselves by a security password.

Quick question

What are the advantages to a bank of offering direct banking?

Write your answer here before reading on.

The main advantages of offering direct banking are that:

• routine enquires can be dealt with directly, thus removing the need for branch
staff to deal with these enquiries and allowing them to concentrate on those
tasks that can only be dealt with in the branch

• the organisation can provide a better service to customers through the use of
specialist staff and software

• new players can enter the market at a much lower cost; in the past, the financing
costs of setting up a bank with a branch network were significant; direct banking
with the provision of telephone and internet banking represents an entry route
to the market at a much lower cost.
Plastic and Electronic Banking 139

Telephone banking

Some organisations operate solely as telephone banks, whilst other financial services
organisations offer telephone banking as part of a wider range of options available to
their customers. When using a telephone banking service the customer will usually
have the option of using either an Automated Telephone Service or of speaking to an
adviser.

Quick question

What do you understand by an Automated Telephone Service?

Write your answer here before reading on.

If a customer uses an automated telephone service, when they telephone the


organisation they are greeted by a recorded message that will offer them some service
options, such as “press 1 for balance enquiries, press 2 for recent transactions” etc.
The call will then be dealt with automatically, for example, under option 1, the system
will advise the customer of the relevant balance without the need for an adviser to
intervene. This is called Interactive Voice Response, which we will consider in more
detail shortly. Alternatively, the customer may prefer to speak to an adviser, perhaps
because the subject of their call is more complex.

Before looking at some of the services that a customer can access through telephone
banking, we’ll consider some of the systems which underpin telephone banking.

Automatic Call Distribution

Calls coming into a call centre do not appear in an orderly fashion but arrive randomly.
There is a telephone system that handles incoming calls in a consistent and controlled
manner – Automatic Call Distribution, abbreviated to ACD. The ACD acts as a
gatekeeper to the call centre which means that all the incoming calls are directed to it
before they are distributed to the advisers. If a customer phones the call centre, they
will go first through their telecommunications provider who in turn will send the call
on to the call centre. The ACD will accept the call and consult with a set of rules that
have been programmed into it, to decide where in the centre the call should go.

Some of the features of an ACD include the ability to:

• place incoming calls in a queuing system and make sure that they are answered
in the correct order

• manage the queue of calls

• direct calls to the right staff

• allow messaging systems to take details from customers if no advisers are


available to take the call within a specified period of time

• allow Integrated Voice Response (IVR).


140 Banking Operations

Following on from the final point, most if not all financial services call centres offer
an IVR service. This means that the customer can request information or even carry
out a transaction without having to speak to an adviser. When the call arrives at the
centre, the customer has the option of either talking to an adviser or using the IVR
service. The customer communicates their choice by using the keypad on their phone.
If the customer chooses to use the IVR service, their call is forwarded to the computer
system. At this point the customer hears an automated, recorded voice which asks the
customer what service(s) they wish to use. In response to these questions, the customer
presses keys on their telephone which transmit a signal to the computer.

However, not all the services on offer are available through IVR. Some of the more
sensitive requests are available solely by the customer talking to an adviser. An
additional factor affecting the availability of IVR for particular transactions is the level
of security required by the organisation. At the moment, most IVR services rely on
tones generated from the customer’s phone which means that the security needs to be
numeric. Therefore, those services which need an alphabetic security password require
to be put through to an adviser.

Quick question

What services can a customer access when using telephone banking?

Write your answer here before reading on.

When using telephone banking, a customer can access the following services:
• obtaining a balance enquiry
• identifying recent transactions
• transferring funds between accounts
• paying a bill
• standing orders
• amending/cancelling a direct debit
• share dealing
• arranging an overdraft
• third party payments.

We have already looked at some of these services earlier in the course, so we’ll
examine some of the others in more detail now.

Obtaining a balance enquiry/Identifying recent transactions

To access this service, the customer first has to prove to the bank that they are indeed
the customer they say they are by using a security code or answering some questions
to verify their identity. They will then be able to access the information requested
either from an adviser or through IVR.
Plastic and Electronic Banking 141

Transferring funds

As you already know, if a customer wishes to transfer the same amount of funds
between two of their accounts on the same date each month, they should set up a
monthly standing order. However, if the amount and date of transfer is variable, they
have the option of giving this instruction to the call centre which can then make the
transfer for them. There is usually also the option of having the transfer carried out
immediately or diarised for some future date.

Paying a bill

Most call centres provide customers with a facility whereby they can instruct bills to
be paid over the phone. All that the customer needs to do is give the centre information
about the bill payment and the adviser processes the transaction through the account.

Share dealing

The call centre also allows banks to offer the service of receiving telephone instructions
from customers to buy and sell stocks and shares. In the past, only written instructions
were accepted from customers who wished to buy or sell on the stock market, but
now, provided that the customer has completed the appropriate level of security, the
call will normally be passed through to a stockbroker who will attend to the purchase
or sale on behalf of the customer.

Quick question

What is a third party payment?

Write your answer here before reading on.

Third party payments

A third party payment is a payment made by a customer through their financial


services provider to another person. It has been possible to make this type of payment
for many years by using a bank giro credit at a bank branch. Normally the funds are
debited from the customer’s account on the date requested and sent through the
clearing system to reach the beneficiary’s account in two to three working days.

Quick question

What are the two types of internet banks?

Write your answer here before reading on.


142 Banking Operations

Online banking

Most if not all banks now have their own websites which allow customers to obtain
information on the products and services offered.

Quick question

What are the benefits of internet banking?

Write your answer here before reading on.

There are two types of internet banks:


• stand alone internet banks offering competitive interest rates and service charges
due to having lower overheads than their high street competitors (the cost of an
average payment transaction on the internet is 7.5p or less, compared to 27p for
a telephone banking service and 54p for a transaction in a branch)
• traditional banks providing branch, telephone and internet banking facilities
(sometimes referred to as “clicks and mortar” banks).

The advantages of internet banking are that:


• services are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
• the time and effort involved in visiting branches are removed and customers
can transact their banking from home, office or any site where they have access
to a personal computer, telephone line and modem
• fees are often lower than traditional banking fees
• despite concerns about security, the technology used ensures the privacy and
safety of the customers’ financial information
• customers can check the balances of their accounts, transfer funds between
accounts and make electronic bill payments.

An internet banking service normally provides customers with the following


services:
• current balances and recent transactions
• copy statements, say for the past six months
• information on automated payments
• the ability to cancel and/or amend standing orders and direct debits
• application for various money transmission, savings and lending products.

In addition, there will normally be information about the organisation, such as a


history and current structure, information on current corporate social responsibility
programmes, environmental initiatives being undertaken, contact information, etc.
Plastic and Electronic Banking 143

Electronic Funds Transfer at Point Of Sale (EFTPOS)

When the use of cheques and credit cards increased, it was thought that we were
heading for the cashless society, but increased use of technology in money
transmission means that we could be heading towards the chequeless society. This
can be evidenced with the number of large retailers, such as petrol stations and
supermarkets, who will no longer accept cheques as a means of payment. EFTPOS
stands for Electronic Transfer of Funds at Point Of Sale and involves the transfer of
funds from the account of a customer directly into the bank account of the retailer at
the time a sale is made. There is no need for the customer to write a cheque and the
retailer will not have to wait for the funds to clear.

Quick question

How does EFTPOS operate in practice?

Write your answer here before reading on.

The procedure for making payment is very safe and convenient. The customer has
a debit card which bears their signature. In most cases banks issue a single card which
combines the features of a cheque guarantee card, a card for withdrawing cash via an
ATM and a debit card. Since the introduction of chip and PIN, either the retailer swipes
or the customer inserts the card in a terminal and the customer enters a Personal
Identification Number (PIN) into a keypad to authorise the transaction. Before the
advent of chip and PIN, the retailer’s till would print a sales slip to be signed by the
customer to authenticate the transaction. The retailer would compare the signature
on the sales slip with the customer’s specimen signature on the debit card before
completing the transaction. This will still be the case in some instances, for example
where there are temporary technological problems.

The major banks are either members of Switch or Visa which operate EFTPOS
systems in the UK. These systems are paperless in so far as debiting the customer’s
account and transferring funds to the retailer’s account are concerned. The debit
appears on the statement of the cardholder a few days after the transaction is
completed.

Quick question

What does the acronym CHAPS stand for?

Write your answer here before reading on.


144 Banking Operations

Electronic funds transfer – CHAPS

CHAPS stands for Clearing House Automated Payment System which is operated by
The CHAPS and Town Clearing Company Limited. This company and CHAPS is
owned and run by 14 UK banks, including The Royal Bank of Scotland plc, Bank of
Scotland, Clydesdale Bank PLC and Lloyds TSB.

CHAPS is an electronic credit transfer system for sending same day value sterling
payments from one member bank (a settlement bank) to another. The payments are
same day value as it is not necessary to wait for funds credited to an account to clear.
Every CHAPS payment is unconditional, guaranteed and cannot be recalled once
sent.

CHAPS started in 1984 and operates over the whole of the UK. There is no
centralised computer centre for CHAPS, but each settlement bank must use
standardised pieces of software through which all inward and outward payment
messages pass – the CHAPS gateway. Settlement of transactions takes place shortly
after 3.00 pm each day. The CHAPS gateway of each settlement bank sends a message
to the Bank of England’s gateway with details of the transaction totals it has recorded
through the day between itself and each of the other member banks. The net
transaction figures are reconciled by the Bank of England and the relative amounts
are debited or credited to the Bank of England accounts of the individual settlement
banks.

Given the number and value of payments handled by CHAPS, the system has a
very high level of built-in security measures to prevent unauthorised or fraudulent
transfers being initiated. The settling of obligations and other related transactions by
participants in the various financial markets of the City of London account for
approximately 90% of CHAPS activity by value and about 60% by volume. The system
is also used for settling house purchase transactions and for making payments between
companies in settlement of debts due.

Quick question

What are the essential features of a credit card?

Write your answer here before reading on.

Credit cards

Credit cards have been in use in this country since the early 1970s although their use
and the spread of ownership increased during the 1980s and they are now a very
widely used method of making payments and for obtaining credit facilities. A credit
card is a plastic card which can be used by the cardholder to purchase goods and
services which are paid for at a later date.
Plastic and Electronic Banking 145

There are currently two dominant groups who operate international networks –
Visa and MasterCard. All the main banks, building societies and other organisations
offer their own versions of either or both of these cards. You should familiarise yourself
with the type(s) of card(s) that are offered by your own organisation.

The essential features of a credit card are:

• the purchase of goods and services on credit subject to an agreed overall limit

• the issue of regular statements by the credit card company

• the option for the customer of either paying all of the sums due to the credit card
company or electing to pay off only a portion of the sums due (minimum amount
or 3 - 5% whichever is the greater) and paying interest on the remainder.

Application procedure

A credit card account operates independently of a customer’s other accounts with the
bank, and the relationship between the bank and the cardholder differs from the
traditional banker/customer relationship.

It is not necessary for a person to maintain an account with the bank before they
can be issued with a credit card. It is initiated by a separate agreement between the
bank and its customer regulating the issue of the credit card and the debtor/creditor
relationship that exists between the parties. In addition, due to the element of credit
involved, the bank will have to be satisfied that the customer can be considered
creditworthy for the amount of their limit. The customer completes an application
form as the basis of the agreement between them and the bank. The application form
also provides the bank with a great deal of information about the customer, such as
employer, salary, house owner or tenant, marital status, number of children, etc.

Normally the creditworthiness of the applicant is screened by a statistical method


called credit scoring which is basically a system that allocates points according to the
data requested on the application form; for example, persons who own their homes
will score more points than those who rent. The process determines the statistical
probability that the credit will be repaid. As you will discover when we look at lending,
there is no universal system of credit scoring nor is any system perfect.

Use of the credit card

Provided that the issuer is satisfied with the creditworthiness of the customer, a card
and PIN will be issued and the customer will be granted a credit limit. The customer
can then use the card to make purchases up to the amount of the limit on the account.
The cardholder presents the card to the retailer and the transaction is completed by
the card being swiped through the retailer’s terminal and the customer inputing their
PIN number on a keypad.

A credit card can also be used for postal, internet and telephone transactions; the
card number being quoted over the phone, input to a screen or noted on an order form
sent in the post. Cash can be withdrawn via ATMs using the credit card by the
cardholder inputing a PIN notified to them at the time the card was issued. This
withdrawal will be treated by the credit card company as a cash advance and so
interest will accrue from the date of the transaction.
146 Banking Operations

Joint credit cards are not offered, but the customer has the option of applying for
other persons to be issued with cards on the account. For example, a husband and
wife may both have credit cards and the same account will be debited regardless of
whose card is used, but only one person will be liable for repayment of the debt.

Quick question

What information is shown on the monthly statement sent to credit card holders?

Write your answer here before reading on.

Every month, the cardholder receives a statement showing:

• their limit

• the transactions that have been made with the card(s)

• any payments that have been received

• any interest that has been debited to the account

• the current balance

• the amount of available credit remaining

• an estimate of the interest which will appear on the next statement based on the
current balance.

The cardholder is not required to make any payment to the issuer of the credit card
until 21 days after the date of the statement. The latest date for receipt of a payment is
shown on the statement. Depending on when a purchase is made, credit cards can
provide a period of up to 56 days of interest-free credit.

On receipt of a statement a cardholder has the option of:

• repaying the whole balance by the due date shown on the statement, or

• repaying a minimum amount or 3 - 5% (whichever is the greater) of the balance


by the due date (provided that the balance is more than £5, otherwise the whole
amount due must be repaid).

Should the cardholder elect not to clear the balance due, interest will be charged
monthly from the statement date on any outstanding balance not repaid.

It is now normal for credit card companies to periodically send cardholders blank
“cheques” which they may draw against the account. Again, this type of transaction
will be treated by the credit card company as a cash advance and so interest will
accrue immediately.
Plastic and Electronic Banking 147

Company credit cards

Companies can make use of credit card facilities to help them control business
expenses and manage cash flow and at the same time provide their staff who incur
regular expenses with a simple and convenient payment method, in the UK or abroad.
An overall limit is agreed between the company and the bank and designated members
of company staff are given a credit card with set limits within the overall agreed limit.
Each card issued normally bears the name of the company and of the cardholder.
Statements are usually produced in respect of each cardholder with an additional
summary statement showing the total amount due for payment from all cardholders.
Settlement of the sum due is normally effected by direct debit from the company’s
bank account.

Charge cards

Charge cards are similar to credit cards in that a customer is allocated a limit and
receives a monthly statement, but the important difference is that the statement
balances require to be settled in full each month. For customers in higher income
brackets, banks offer “Gold Cards” or “Premier Cards” which combine a charge card
with a cheque guarantee card, and in both cases the limits tend to be higher than
usual. Automatic overdraft facilities are also included.

Store credit/charge cards

Many department stores and other retailers have introduced their own cards which
operate in direct competition to credit cards issued by banks. The main advantage for
retailers, apart from the interest they receive, is that the ready availability of credit
should lead to increased sales. Retailers will also be hoping that customers will buy
goods from their stores using the store card rather than make purchases from a
competitor where such credit is not available.

Most stores which offer their own store cards also accept other credit cards issued
under the auspices of MasterCard or Visa. Store cards operate in the same way as
credit cards in that a monthly statement is provided and the customers have the option
of paying off all that is outstanding or paying only a portion of the outstanding debt
and paying interest on the remainder.
148 Banking Operations

Question time 6
1 What is the difference between a credit card and a charge card?

2 Explain how a credit card can provide the holder with interest-free credit.

3 Explain briefly how Switch works.

4 What is CHAPS?

Check your answers at the back of the book.


Plastic and Electronic Banking 149

Review

Now consider the main learning points which were introduced in this chapter.
Go through them and tick each one when you are happy that you fully understand
each point.
Then check back to the objectives at the beginning of the chapter and match them to
the learning points.
Reread any section you are unsure of before moving on.

With direct banking, the customer has access to their account 24 hours a day,
7 days a week, either by telephone or internet. ■
Automatic Call Distribution acts as a gatekeeper to a call centre. ■
When using telephone banking, a customer can obtain a balance enquiry,
identify recent transactions, transfer funds between accounts, pay a bill,
obtain information on standing orders, amend/cancel a direct debit, give share
dealing instructions, arrange an overdraft, or make third party payments. ■
An internet banking service normally provides customers with the following
services: current balances and recent transactions, copy statements, information
on automated payments, cancel/amend standing orders and direct debits,
apply for certain products. ■
EFTPOS facilitates the transfer of funds from the account of a customer
directly into the bank account of the retailer at the time a sale is made. ■
CHAPS is an electronic credit transfer system for sending same day value
sterling payments from one member bank to another. ■
A credit card can be used by the cardholder to purchase goods and services
which are paid for at a later date. ■
150 Banking Operations

Key words in this chapter are given below. There is space to


write your own revision notes and to add any other words or
phrases that you want to remember.

direct banking

telephone banking

Automated Telephone Service

Automatic Call Distribution

Interactive Voice Response

EFTPOS

CHAPS

settlement bank

same day value

CHAPS Gateway
Plastic and Electronic Banking 151

Multiple choice questions 6


Try these self-test questions to assess your understanding of what you have read in this chapter.
The answers are at the back of the book.

1 Which one of the following money transmission media is most suitable for same day, large value
transactions?

A cheques and credit clearing

B bank giro credit

C BACS

D CHAPS

2 Which one of the following institutions reconciles the transactions of the banks through the CHAPS
system?

A CREST

B Bank of England

C individual settlement banks

D Town Clearing

3 Which one of the following will not normally be included on a credit card statement?

A credit limit

B card expiry date

C interest debited this month

D applicable interest rate

4 William has a Visa credit card. What are the maximum days of interest-free credit normally
available to him when using the card?

A 14 days

B 28 days

C 30 days

D 56 days
152 Banking Operations
Lending 153

7 Lending

Objectives

By the end of this chapter, you should be able to:

• Present a structured approach to the credit assessment process.

• Describe the main lending products offered by banks.

• Explain the nature and purpose of credit scoring.


154 Banking Operations

Introduction

In this chapter we will look at the general principles of good lending practice, in
particular the canons or principles of lending. Lending money is an important part of
a banking business but it must be done properly and prudently, otherwise the bank
may sustain loss. Much of bank lending is now credit scored, so we’ll also look at this area.

Quick question

Why does a bank charge arrangement fees?

Write your answer here before reading on.

What is lending?

As you know, banks accept money on deposit from customers and pay them interest
on the sums deposited. Naturally the bank must find the money to pay the depositor’s
interest and must also make a profit for the benefit of the bank’s shareholders and
staff. One of the ways the bank achieves this is to lend or advance the money deposited
to its customers. The bank will be paid interest on the amount advanced and the rate
of interest charged by the bank will be greater than the rate of interest paid by the
bank on deposits. The difference between the two rates, the margin, is part of the
bank’s profit.

In addition, a bank normally charges customers an arrangement fee for advances.


An arrangement fee is a charge made to customers to cover the cost to the bank of
arranging the loan. It takes account of the cost of staff time in setting up the facility,
the costs involved in setting up the account on the bank’s computer system, the costs
of preparing supporting documentation, etc. Normally an arrangement fee is lower
when an existing facility is being renewed as opposed to the setting up of a completely
new advance. This is because it is less time consuming to review an existing facility
than it is to set up a completely new facility.

The amount of the arrangement fee will be negotiated between the bank and the
customer at the time the borrowing is agreed. While there will be some discussion
between the bank and the customer as to the level of the arrangement fee, there are
some parameters around which the banker will wish to operate. You should identify
what these parameters are in your own organisation.

If a bank lends money to an individual, firm or company and the borrower is unable
to repay the advance, not only will the bank lose the interest it requires to pay
depositors, it will also lose some of the capital sum deposited and will have to repay
these deposits and interest out of profits. You will therefore appreciate that, while
lending is an important and profitable business tool of a bank, it is vitally important
that bankers acquire, develop and use lending skills to ensure that all lending remains
safe and profitable.
Lending 155

Quick question

What are some points a banker should consider before agreeing to lend money to a customer?

Write your answer here before reading on.

The canons of lending

Lending money is not an exact science; that is, it is not possible to work out some
formula or apply a certain theory and by doing so guarantee that the amount advanced
to a customer will be repaid with interest. However, there are general principles of
good lending or canons of lending, which, if applied consistently, should reduce the
guesswork and hence risk involved in lending to a customer.

In this course, we are going to review the factors a banker should consider when
assessing a credit proposition. The general principles of good lending can be broken
down into five categories:

• the borrower

• the lending proposition

• security

• repayment

• remuneration.

The borrower

A bank’s agreement to lend should depend on its view of the customer’s current and
future ability to repay. It is therefore essential that the bank obtains as much
information as possible regarding the financial affairs of the potential borrower and is
confident that it can rely fully on the information provided.

The bank should be considering how well it knows its customer. The bank’s records
should disclose how long the customer – if in fact they are at this stage a customer –
has maintained a relationship or connection with the bank and what their previous
track record has been; for example, have their accounts been maintained in a
satisfactory manner in the past? Any unauthorised or excess borrowing? Have
previous loans been repaid in accordance with the agreed repayment programme?

If the proposed borrower is an existing customer, the bank should already know
quite a lot about them. If the customer’s salary is mandated to the bank, there will be
a fairly complete picture of the customer’s income and expenditure. For example, if
the customer is paid monthly and in the last week of every month the account is
becoming more and more overdrawn, how does the customer expect to make the
repayment instalments on the loan they have requested?
156 Banking Operations

When looking at a request from an existing customer for a loan or overdraft for
personal purposes, the banker more often than not will have all the information
required to make the decision. Credit scoring is used in many cases and we’ll look at
this in the next section. The same cannot be said for requests from non-customers or
requests for advances for business purposes.

Other factors the bank should consider, especially in respect of advances for
business purposes, include:

• the age or, more importantly, the maturity of the borrower

• qualifications and experience

• financial acumen

• integrity and reliability

• organisational ability and efficiency.

In order to comply with the law, banks do not normally lend to individuals under
the age of eighteen. It is more important, however, to consider the maturity of the
borrower; for example, have they thought out their business proposition and do they
appear to have the ability to see their proposition to conclusion?

Quick question

What sort of skills and abilities should the banker be looking for in the borrowing customer?

Write your answer here before reading on.

Many people in business have no formal qualifications, but unless such


qualifications are essential to the successful operation of the business, for example a
solicitor’s practice, experience is more important. The banker must consider whether
or not the borrower has the qualifications and/or the experience to enable them to
undertake the business successfully.

Another important skill is in the demonstration of financial acumen and the ability
to keep proper records and accounts. If the customer has an overdraft limit, can they
operate within that limit? Does the customer know how many items they must sell
before a profit is earned (that is, at what level will the business start to break even?) If
they sell goods at a certain price, do they know how much it has cost to produce the
items and does this price also cover overheads and result in a profit?

Unless the customer is well known to you, you should seek references from reliable
sources, such as from the customer’s previous bankers. You should also be confident
that the customer has the ability to carry out their business as they could soon get into
trouble if deadlines are missed or goods fail to be delivered to customers on time. The
banker should be satisfied that the customer is aware of their capabilities and do not,
for example, overstretch their resources.
Lending 157

The customer’s business

It is also important that the banker gets to know something of the customer’s business
activities and their overall business strategy:
• Is the customer involved in a highly competitive business where competitors
are always trying to undercut each other?
• If your customer gets involved in this, how will a price reduction affect the
figures provided to you at the time the application for the advance was made?
• How will it affect the customer’s ability to repay the loan?
• Is the customer’s business subject to seasonal fluctuations? For example, a small
hotel in a seaside town, a producer of Christmas trees.

It may be necessary to ask your customer lots of pertinent questions before you can
fully consider a lending proposition.

The lending proposition

The crucial questions to consider when analysing the lending proposition are:
• What is the purpose of the advance?
• How much of an advance is required?
• When will the advance be repaid?

The banker should also consider whether the facilities requested are within the
bank‘s policy. For example, a bank may have a limit on how much it will lend to a
particular sector; there may be government or Bank of England directives on lending
to a particular sector. In addition, the type of facility and the purpose may not be a
recognised “product” of the bank and it may be more appropriate to refer the customer
to a subsidiary or associate company of the bank involved in, say, leasing or factoring.

■ What is the purpose of the advance?

The purpose of the advance should be clearly defined and understood by both the
customer and the banker. Is the lending proposition basically sound? Has it been
thought through fully by the customer and do they have any projections or figures,
such as a cash flow forecast, to support their request?

The banker must also be satisfied that the advance is for a legal and proper purpose
and complies with the bank’s credit policy. In most cases this will not pose a problem.

As well as ensuring that the transaction is legal and within the powers of the
borrower, it is just as important to be satisfied that the purpose of the loan has been
well thought out by the customer and that they will be in a position to repay the
loan in line with the agreed repayment programme.

■ How much of an advance is required?

Obviously it is essential for the bank (and the customer!) to know how much of a
loan is required and/or how much the overdraft limit should be. One point to
remember here is that there is as much risk of a loan not being repaid because the
borrower has requested not enough of an advance as there is when a customer
borrows too much money.
158 Banking Operations

Sometimes a customer may request the maximum amount they think that a bank
may lend to them, even if this amount is less than they actually need to finance the
intended purpose, and you should bear in mind that if the project is not a success,
the customer may not be able to repay the advance.

Example
Your customer wants to expand his business and requests a loan of £45,000 to
purchase additional equipment costing £50,000. What you and the customer
must bear in mind is that the extra equipment may involve an increase in other
costs, such as the amount of electrical power used, additional wages or overtime
costs or the purchase of additional raw materials. However, there could be a
timing difference here as your customer may need to pay the supplier for the
raw materials before receiving payment from his customers.

If your customer has not borrowed enough and cannot finance the extra costs, a
situation could evolve where he has a piece of equipment he cannot afford to
use and, more importantly from the bank’s point of view, a piece of equipment
which is not earning its keep! The additional income anticipated from the
expansion will not now materialise and your customer may be unable to repay
the loan.

Quick question

What other type of financial information could a customer provide?

Write your answer here before reading on.

To ensure that the correct level of advance has been requested, the customer’s
request should be supported by a cash flow projection which can be a statement
showing how much “cash” the customer presently has, what their projected income
and expenditure will be and therefore how much cash they will have at the end of
the period. The cash flow forecast should of course include the customer’s own
drawings from the business and the capital and interest payments due to the bank.

It is important that this cash flow projection reflects when cash is received into the
business and paid out of the business. “Cash” can encompass physical cash,
cheques, automated payments, etc. When preparing a cash flow projection, the
customer may estimate, for example, that sales in January will be £5,000. However,
if the business allows 60 days credit, this £5,000 should not appear in the cash flow
forecast until March as that is the month in which payment will be received and
lodged to the account. Similarly, payments made should be included in the cash
flow, not when the debt is incurred, but when the business will make the payment.
In this case, if the business buys materials for £2,500 in May, but is allowed 30 days
credit, this amount should appear in the cash flow projection for June.
Lending 159

When considering the amount of the loan requested, the bank should also estimate
the value of the business, in particular how much the customer has invested
personally. It is worthwhile remembering that if the customer has invested £10,000
in their business and they are requesting to lend £15,000, they are asking the bank
to invest more money in the business than they have – in other words for the bank
to take a greater risk than they are prepared to take. This is considered as the
customer’s level of commitment.

■ When will the advance be repaid?

Overdrafts are repayable on demand but term loans can be for periods in excess of
20 years depending on the type of proposal. The banker may wish to consider, for
example, whether the loan will be repaid within the effective lifetime of the piece
of equipment to be purchased. This also applies to personal lending. For example,
some banks are willing to provide car loans repayable over up to five years in
respect of a new car but not for a loan to purchase a car which is seven years old as
this would mean that when the car is ten years old and possibly no longer
roadworthy, the customer will still have a further two years of the loan to repay.

Security

Any decision by a bank to lend money to one of its customers will depend on its view
of the customer’s present and future ability to repay the advance from their own
resources. In other words, any proposition should be able to stand on its own without
the need for security. The bank, however, may wish to safeguard against unforeseen
circumstances or risk and for the customer’s obligations to the bank to be supported
by acceptable security. (We will look at security in detail in the next chapter.) What
the banker should be considering is what value can realistically be placed on any
security provided, how easy will it be to convert the security to cash should the need
arise and how easy it will be to actually take the security.

Repayment

It is important for the bank to know when a loan will be repaid and that the customer
is in fact able to repay the loan within the agreed repayment period. Again, asking the
customer to prepare a cash flow forecast will help both the bank and the customer to
agree a sensible repayment programme. There is obviously no point in the bank
stipulating a repayment programme of £250 per month if it is clear that the most that
the customer can afford to repay is £125 per month.

The bank will obviously not wish the loan to be outstanding for any longer than it
considers necessary or prudent, but the fact is that the longer the term of the loan, the
smaller the amount of the repayment instalments. It is also fair to say that the longer
a loan is outstanding, the greater the risk of something happening that will increase
the risk of the loan not being repaid.

So far we have looked mainly at advances for business purposes. In many respects
it is easier to consider repayment of a loan for personal purposes, especially if the
customer has a regular salary, even better if paid straight into their bank account. It
will be easy to determine the amount of the customer’s income and further
investigation will reveal the customer’s regular outgoings – again examination of the
bank account will be useful as this will show regular standing orders, direct debits,
mortgage payments, etc. From all this information the bank will be able to see the
amount that the customer is comfortably able to repay on a monthly basis.
160 Banking Operations

Remuneration

Remuneration is very important as this is one of the ways in which the bank makes a
profit! At the beginning of this chapter we discussed how the bank accepts money
from one set of customers at a certain rate of interest and lends to another set of
customers at a higher rate of interest. If the bank is to remain in business, it is essential
that the margin between the rates is sufficient to ensure that the bank makes a profit
in lending to the customer. We have already discussed arrangement fees which are
put in place by banks to cover the costs of setting up a loan facility, and these fees also
contribute to the overall remuneration received by a bank.

A final point to consider is that the risk being taken by a bank in granting a loan
should be reflected in the reward it receives. It would therefore be reasonable for a
bank to charge a higher rate of interest than usual if it considers that it is taking a
higher risk in making the loan available. Similarly, it would not be unreasonable for a
bank to charge a lower rate of interest on a loan that is fully secured than it would for
an unsecured loan.

Quick question

How would you define credit scoring?

Write your answer here before reading on.

Credit scoring

We have discussed credit scoring from time to time in this course, but we’ll now
examine it in more detail. Before the introduction of credit scoring techniques in the
1980s, all credit applications received by banks were manually underwritten. This
meant that each application had to be scrutinised by the bank and assessed using the
principles of lending which we looked at in the last section. At the end of this process,
the application was either accepted or declined.

As you can imagine, this was a fairly time consuming process, depending on the
complexity of the application and customers could have to wait some time to receive
a decision. There was also the danger that inconsistencies in credit assessment could
be manifested within the one organisation; for example, a customer could have a
personal loan application declined at one branch of a bank, then make an identical
application at another branch of the same bank and have their loan sanctioned!

Credit scoring has been successful in overcoming these problems as it speeds up


the decision making process and ensures that consistent credit decisions are made
throughout the organisation. When we match credit scoring with direct banking, it is
now possible for the customer to make an application at any time of the day and
receive an immediate decision.
Lending 161

As well as assessing credit risk, a form of credit scoring can also be used to
determine what are the most suitable types of account to be offered to a particular
customer wanting to open an account which has several “automatic” credit facilities
attached to it.

Credit scoring was originally used for personal customers, for example mortgages,
credit cards and revolving credit. However, it is now being increasingly used at the
smaller end of the small to medium sized enterprises (SME) segment of the market.
Credit scoring is found to be the most accurate, consistent and fair forms of credit
assessment. It uses external data from credit reference agencies and information which
is available within the bank on the history of the applicant and how well they have
repaid credit facilities in the past. Credit scoring is a statistical means of assessing the
probability of repayment of credit for an individual or small business who supplies
specific data when applying for credit. The underpinning logic with credit scoring is
that it is possible, by using statistics on the past performance, to predict the future
credit repayment pattern of customers who have similar financial characteristics.

While credit scoring will not allow us to look into the future to determine with
certainty that a particular customer will definitely repay the requested facility, it does
assess the credit risk of the individual using the historical repayment record of
individuals who have similar characteristics within their financial profile. Therefore,
a bank can use its historic credit experience to estimate the degree of risk, be it low,
medium or high. For example, statistics may show that the customer, when compared
with a similarly classed customer, will behave satisfactorily at a rate of, say, 50:1. In
assessing the probability of default in this way, the customers who pass the credit
score set by the bank are deemed to have an acceptable default risk, whereas those
applications that fall below the acceptable score set by the bank are rejected.

In the example above we are looking at a “bottom up” analysis, but it is also possible
to use a “top down” analysis. With the bottom up analysis, the applicant will start
with a score of, say, 500 points. Those parts of the application which have positive
attributes will have points deducted from this 500, and those parts of the application
deemed negative will have points added to the 500. Therefore when using the bottom
up approach, a high score is regarded as “bad” and a low score is regarded as “good”.
The reverse is true with the top down approach, as here a high score is “bad” and a
low score is “good”.

Quick question

What do you understand by the term “scorecard”?

Write your answer here before reading on.

The scorecard refers to the set of points that are used when scoring an application.
Points are allocated according to the characteristics of various applicants whose
accounts were:

• fully repaid on time with no issues


162 Banking Operations

• are then compared with the characteristics of those facilities that were either
slow to repay, and

• are compared again to those who did not repay their loans in full.

For example, the bank may discover that applicants who had cheques or automated
payments dishonoured within the past 12 months are x% more liable to default on
loans compared to those customers who did not have any items returned unpaid.

Points are then assigned to each characteristic that reflects the comparison between
“good” and “slow” or “problem” loans. As you may be aware, these characteristics
may range from post code to home ownership, length of time at current address,
having a land line telephone, etc.

Quick question

Why do you think having a land line telephone would have a score allocated to it?

Write your answer here before reading on.

The reason for this is that if someone has defaulted on payment of a phone bill, it is
likely that there will be some adverse credit information available on this person,
such as a court judgement. This information could immediately filter out an
application from an individual who has a poor record of paying a utility bill. On
another level, if a loan is sanctioned and runs into difficulty, then having a contact
number for the customer could prove invaluable.

There are several purposes for which credit scoring models can be used:

• to predict the likelihood of a new loan facility going bad or becoming delinquent

• to determine the level of credit limit that may be given to a credit card

• to predict the credit risk of approving a new current account and providing
overdraft facilities.

These types of credit scoring are application scoring.

There is also behavioural scoring which can be used to:

• increase a credit card limit for an existing customer

• decide whether or not to pay items presented to an existing account if there are
insufficient funds available

• upgrade credit and/or debit cards to say, a “gold” account.


Lending 163

Quick question

What are some of the benefits and limitations of credit scoring?

Write your answer here before reading on.

The benefits of credit scoring include:

• a consistent and impartial assessment of customers – all customers are treated


consistently and equitably

• allows management to control the “credit tap” – that is, increase or reduce credit
exposure, therefore giving the bank control over the approval volumes/ “bad”
rates

• a uniform method of processing standard customer requests

• an increase in the ability to consider volume credit approvals irrespective of


value

• much improved management information systems as information is held


electronically

• an efficient and cost effective method of credit assessment

• with a standard and tested system, the quality of the credit portfolio will be
reliable during a stable economic cycle

• an increased level of customer service through increased response times to credit


requests.

The limitations of credit scoring include:

• a large number of historical applicants and repayment patterns data is needed


to build a reliable scorecard – this can present a challenge, particularly to small
organisations

• it can be expensive to build and put in place, although there can be the option of
developing an in-house version or buying an “off the shelf” package

• it is time sensitive, as the efficiency will deteriorate over time; old data can prove
unreliable, therefore systems need to be replaced or updated over time

• it is not infallible and errors can occur

• not all lending decisions are suitable for credit scoring, depending on the
customer’s circumstances; it may be that some applications still need to be
manually underwritten.
164 Banking Operations

Lending products offered by banks

Personal lending is just as important as business lending and it is likely that the first
type of lending you will encounter will be personal loans. Personal lending requires
the same lending skills as for business purposes but it should be easier to build a more
complete picture of the customer’s income and expenditure as this is more consistent
than the income and expenditure for a business. For example, a customer’s salary will
normally be roughly the same each month as will their outgoings.

You should remember of course that while you will have a very good idea of your
customer’s present income and expenditure, the picture may change in the future.
You would expect a customer’s income to increase through time, but they may lose
their job or their salary may contain a large commission element which may reduce in
times of low business activity (such as with someone involved in sales). You should
also identify how much of a salary is made up of the basic salary and how much is
overtime payments which tend to be less reliable moving forward.

Lending takes many forms. Different banks have different names for their products
but in practice the basic elements are broadly similar. We will now look at some of the
more common lending products.

Quick question

For what reasons might a customer require an overdraft?

Write your answer here before reading on.

Overdrafts

Overdrafts are only available on current accounts and involve the customer
withdrawing from their account, either by cheque or any other means, more than has
been deposited which means that, instead of the bank being due to repay to the
customer the balance on the account, the bank is owed money by the customer.

An overdraft is normally shown on a customer’s statement by the abbreviation DR


(meaning “debtor”) after the balance of the account. Interest is charged on the
outstanding debtor balance on the account and calculated on a daily basis.

Overdrafts can be granted for personal purposes, for example to assist a customer
until receipt of their salary (which hopefully is mandated to the bank); or for business
purposes, normally to assist a business cope with the fact that sums due from
customers may not yet have been collected at the times suppliers are due to be paid.
This often happens if the customer buys and sells goods on credit terms. An overdraft
would not normally be granted to assist with the purchase of an asset, especially if the
bank is to be repaid over a long period of time. In this case a term loan would be a
more appropriate product.
Lending 165

A customer is normally allocated a limit up to which the account may become


overdrawn. There are not usually too many terms and conditions attaching to an
overdraft as overdrafts are normally repayable on demand. Given the purposes for
which overdrafts are granted, it is usual to see wide fluctuations in the balance of the
account which should swing into credit for periods. If the balance on the account is
not fluctuating and hard core borrowing is emerging, then it may be more appropriate
to grant the customer a term loan. Alternatively, it may be a sign that your customer
is in some difficulty as the expected credits to the account have not been received and
it may therefore be time for the bank to take some form of remedial action.

Personal loans

The minimum and maximum amounts that can be lent by way of a personal loan will
vary from bank to bank. Generally, personal loans are unsecured. The maximum term
is usually ten years. Personal loans can be granted for a variety of purposes, notably
the purchase of motor vehicles, home improvements, holidays and purchases of
household items such as furniture.

Interest is calculated by applying the rate of interest to the whole amount of the
loan in respect of the full term of the loan. The total is then divided by the number of
monthly payments agreed to determine the amount of the repayment instalments.

Example
A customer wishes to borrow £5,000 to purchase a motor vehicle. The loan will
be repayable over a period of 5 years by monthly instalments and the bank’s
interest rate for personal loans is currently 10%.
(This is a simplified example and in reality the loan interest could be
compounded, that is interest would be charged on the interest. If this were the
case, a loan of £5,000 over 5 years, charging compound interest of 10% pa, would
cost £8,052.55 or £134.22 per month.)
However, if we assume that simple interest is charged, the calculation is:
Amount of loan £5,000
Interest (£5,000 x 10% x 5 = £500 x 5) £2,500
Total sum repayable £7,500
Number of repayment instalments (5 x 12) 60
The loan will therefore be repaid by 60 monthly instalments of £125.

These details will be conveyed to the customer in a credit agreement to be entered


into between the bank and the customer.

A variety of personal loans are currently available on the market; for example,
some will have a variable rather than a fixed rate of interest, some may allow one-off
payments to be made by the customer in reduction of the debt, etc.

House purchase loans (mortgages)

This type of loan used to be provided only by building societies, but the banks realised
in the 1970s that this was a profitable market and as they expanded into providing a
complete range of financial services it was a natural progression to provide house
purchase loans.
166 Banking Operations

At that time, it was quite a change for the banks as they were not used to committing
funds for the long periods of time involved. The banks have since captured a
substantial part of the house purchase loan market.

The most common types of house purchase loans are the following.

■ Interest only mortgages

With an interest only loan, there are no repayments to the loan account of any
capital at all during the life of the loan. The payment made by the customer to the
lender covers only the interested accruing on the loan. The only occurrence that
will cause this amount to change is if there is a change in base rate.

The capital sum must be repaid in its entirety at the end, therefore it is the
borrower’s responsibility to ensure that they have funds available at the end of the
loan period to make a full repayment. They may have amassed savings over the
period of the loan that would allow them to do this, but it is more common to have
some form of repayment vehicle set up to allow these funds to be available.

Quick question

What products could a customer use as a repayment vehicle?

Write your answer here before reading on.

There are three repayment vehicles which come readily to mind:

• an endowment policy

• a personal pension plan

• an ISA.

The proceeds of any of these investment products would be used to provide the
borrower with a lump sum to make the capital repayment from.

Quick question

What is a potential problem with this approach?

Write your answer here before reading on.

The main problem is that there is no guarantee that there will be sufficient funds to
make the repayment in full. You may well have read in the media that, due to the
stock market performing at a lower level than was anticipated, many endowment
policy holders face a shortfall when their policies mature – in other words, the
proceeds of the policy will be less than the amount of the loan.
Lending 167

As a result, many policyholders have been advised to do one of the following:

• increase the level of premiums that they pay

• arrange to set aside additional funds to meet the shortfall

• extend the term of the loan and/or the savings policy

• convert all or part of their loan to capital and interest; by converting part of their
loan to capital and interest, the amount of the loan outstanding could be reduced
to the projected return from their investment.

■ Repayment mortgages

This type of loan requires the borrower to repay part of the capital borrowed and
an interest payment charged on that capital every time an instalment is made. The
balance of the account should therefore be zero at the end of the loan period.

With this arrangement, the interest repayment element makes up a larger part of
the repayment than the capital element in the early stages of the loan. It is only later
on in the life of the loan – when these small reductions of capital begin to reduce
the total amount of capital outstanding – that the amount of interest accrued reduces
and so the capital amount of the repayment becomes more dominant.

It is standard practice for lenders to look for the customer to provide some form of
assurance to guarantee the repayment of the loan in the event of the borrower‘s
death. Normally this is done by arranging for a mortgage protection policy to be
put in place.

There are several benefits associated with capital and interest loans:

• they are easier for the customer to understand

• overall, repayments may be less than with an interest only loan

• it is possible for the customer to reduce the amount outstanding at any time by
making a one-off payment into the loan account; for example, if a customer
receives an annual bonus, they could pay this into the loan account and with
any reduction to the amount outstanding, the monthly payments will pay off
the outstanding balance of the loan more quickly

• the borrower can rest safe in the knowledge that, provided they continue to
make their repayments, the loan will be fully repaid at the end of the term.

The amount of the monthly repayment will only vary as the interest rate varies.
When base rate changes, there are usually illustrations in the media of how this
might affect the monthly repayments of a “typical” loan. As base rate increases, so
will the loan repayments, and conversely, as base rate falls, so too do the loan
repayments.

■ Personal pension mortgages

A personal pension may be used by a self employed person or by anyone who is


not a member of an occupational pension scheme to provide the cash required to
repay their interest only mortgage. With a personal pension, there is some tax relief.
In addition, the individual may retire at any time from age 50, and can withdraw
up to 25% of the value of their pension fund as a tax-free lump sum which facilitates
the repayment of the mortgage.
168 Banking Operations

A disadvantage of this method of repayment is that the lump sum cannot be


withdrawn until retirement age, and as this may be at any time from age 50 to 75
years, it is best suited to those for whom retirement is closer.

There are some other disadvantages to think about:

• there is no guarantee of the final sum paid so it is possible that this may be less
than the amount of the outstanding mortgage

• it may prove expensive to fund both the mortgage interest payments and the
personal pension

• if the person moves into a new job and so joins an occupational pension scheme,
the personal pension must stop

• they may be difficult to understand.

■ Muslim mortgages
As you have seen, mortgages are interest based and this is something that does not
conform to Islamic Sharia law. Muslims in the UK therefore find themselves in a
very difficult position as a mortgage contravenes their faith, but due to the nature
of the financial services industry, if they wish to own their home, they have no
choice but to reluctantly take out a mortgage. However, some providers do now
provide a Sharia-compliant mortgage that is based on Ijara and Murabha methods.
Using the Ijara method:
• the financial institution purchases the property
• while the customer stays in the property, they make payments to the financial
institution totalling the purchase price of the property; these payments may be
scheduled over a period of up to 25 years
• during the loan repayment period, the customer is also charged rent on the
property
• once the customer has repaid the money that was spent on purchasing the
property, the property is sold to them.
By following this arrangement, the financial institution makes its money from the
rent that the customer pays. As rent is not another name for interest, it is seen to be
a fair payment for living in a property that is owned by the financial institution,
rather than being a charge for borrowing money.
Using the Murabha method:
• the financial services organisation purchases the property from the seller at the
original price and then sells it to the customer at a higher price
• the amount of the higher price can be paid back to the lender over a period of up
to 15 years.
The financial services company will make their profit through the higher price at
which they sell the property to their customer.
A major disadvantage with both these arrangements is that Stamp Duty must be
paid twice in each transaction.
At present, this type of mortgage is not available from all lenders.
Lending 169

Whilst in the past, there were only a few mortgage products available on the market,
this situation has altered over recent years, with there now being a wide range of
mortgage accounts for customers to choose from – for example, fixed rate, flexible
rate, capped, etc. It is beyond the scope of this course to examine all of these, but
before leaving the area of mortgages, we will look at current account mortgages.

Current account mortgages

These have been recently introduced to this country but have been available abroad
for many years. Here, the customer’s house purchase loan and current account are
amalgamated into one account.

Quick question

What would be the advantage to the customer of combining their mortgage and current account?

Write your answer here before reading on.

The main advantage is that as each month’s salary is credited to the account, it will
reduce the total amount outstanding. As a result, the interest that is accruing on the
outstanding balance is slightly lower. The cumulative effect of this over the years of
the mortgage can produce savings for the customer, with the result that they can
repay their loan earlier than if the mortgage and current account were maintained
separately.

Normally the lender will either allow the customer to monitor the situation
themselves, subject to periodic reviews by the lender, or there can be the situation
where the limit on the account reduces each month in line with the mortgage
repayments. In the latter situation, the customer knows, on a monthly basis, that they
are on track to repay the mortgage element of the combined account.

Capital release or equity release loans

These are products developed to take advantage of rises in property values and to
allow homeowners to use the increase in value to borrow up to a maximum of 95% of
the value of the property, taking into account the existing mortgage. The additional
loan can be obtained from the same or a different lender but in the latter case an
additional security will be required. This type of loan can be used for anything from
a house extension to an expensive holiday. Repayment methods vary but are similar
in type to house purchase loans.

Quick question

What is the difference between closed and open ended bridging?

Write your answer here before reading on.


170 Banking Operations

Bridging loans

When customers move house, the settlement of the purchase and sale of the properties
does not always occur on the same day and to assist, the banks offer bridging facilities
to enable the customer to proceed with the purchase of the new property with the
loan being repaid from the sale of the original property.

Closed bridging occurs when the date of the sale of the asset to repay the bridging
has been confirmed; therefore, in a house purchase scenario, this is when there is an
agreed settlement date for the sale of the property and missives have been formally
concluded. The bank will thus know how much the house has been sold for and when
the funds are due to be paid.

Open ended bridging covers the situation where the date of the sale of the asset to
repay the bridging loan has not been agreed, in other words where the customer has
bought their new property, but has not yet sold the old property. This represents a far
higher risk for the bank, as they do not know when they are going to receive repayment
of the bridging loan.

Although bridging loans are usually encountered when dealing with house
purchase, there are other occasions when such a loan may be appropriate. For example,
the customer may want to purchase a car, based on the sale proceeds of shares.
However, if they need to pay for the car on 1 October, but the settlement date for the
sale of the shares is not until 14 October, they will be looking for bridging finance to
cover the period 1 – 14 October. This would normally be provided by an overdraft.

An irrevocable mandate will be taken by the bank to ensure that the sale proceeds
are received. The mandate is usually addressed to the solicitors acting for the
customers in the sale who will undertake to pass the sale proceeds to the bank.

Term loans

These are usually granted to business customers to help buy assets such as plant and
machinery where the cost involved would make it inappropriate for the borrowing to
be added to the overdraft facility which should be used for working capital purposes.
A term loan spreads the cost of the asset over a period – usually up to 20 years – but
can be taken for longer periods with repayment instalments on a monthly, quarterly,
half yearly or annual basis.

Interest on the loan usually fluctuates at a rate above the bank’s base rate agreed at
the outset with the customer and is debited to their operating current account.
Obviously the interest paid will be high at the start of the loan but will reduce as the
capital is repaid. Loans can also be at a rate which is fixed with combined capital and
interest payments being made at regular intervals. The length of the term of the loan
can be flexible as can the repayment arrangements including, for example, a capital
holiday for, say one year to give the customer a chance to generate income from the
asset to be acquired.

The terms and conditions (covenants) of the loan are normally set out in a loan
agreement which will cover such things as:

• the term over which the loan is to be repaid

• the security to be granted


Lending 171

• conditions to be complied with by the customer, for example supply the bank
with accounts at regular intervals, not grant security over any assets to any
other party

• events which would render the loan immediately due for repayment (events of
default) such as the customer failing to meet a repayment instalment on time,
the loan being used for a different purpose to the one agreed, etc.

Overdrafts are repayable on demand, but, provided the customer stays within the
conditions laid down in the loan agreement, the bank cannot demand repayment. It is
usual therefore for security to be taken for such loans.

The Consumer Credit Act

This is the main piece of legislation covering consumer credit which aims to provide
protection for the consumer by licensing credit providers and other organisations.

The 2006 Consumer Credit Act reformed the Consumer Credit Act 1974. The 2006 Act
is a culmination of a three year review of consumer credit law and aims to protect the
consumer and create a fairer and more transparent credit market by:

• enhancing consumer rights and redress by empowering consumers to challenge


unfair lending, and through more effective options for resolving disputes

• improving the regulation of consumer credit businesses by streamlining the


licensing system, requiring minimum standards of information provision to
consumers and through targeted action to drive out rogues

• making regulation more appropriate for different types of transaction by


extending protections to all consumer credit and by creating a more
proportionate regime for business.

The Act defines credit as any form of financial accommodation where goods and
services are sold to a buyer without any immediate payment. As such, it implies that
there is trust and confidence on the part of the lender in the borrower’s ability to repay
in full at some future, agreed, time.

There are two types of credit agreement:

• restricted use – these apply to the acquisition of goods and services

• unrestricted use – these apply to obtaining cash loans that can be used for any
purpose.

A consumer credit agreement is established where the person granting the loan
(the creditor) provides the person obtaining the loan (the debtor) with credit.
Previously, a “regulated” agreement was one where the credit exceeded £50 and was
less than £25,000. Any loans for amounts outside these limits were exempt from the
Act. However, the Consumer Credit Act 2006 withdrew these limits with effect from
April 2008.
172 Banking Operations

Charge for credit and Annual Percentage Rate (APR)

The total charge for credit is the total amount that the debtor is required to pay when
they take out a loan. This includes all interest and any explicit fees but does not include
insurance.

The APR is the total charge, expressed as a percentage. The formulae to calculate
this are laid down in the Act.

Calculating the APR can be a very complex task, but here is a simple example:

Example
Someone borrows £100 at a monthly rate of interest of 1%. It has been agreed
that there will be no repayments during the first year. APR is calculated:

Loan amount £100.00


January interest: £100 x 1% = £1 + £100 101.00
February interest: £101 x 1% = £1.01 + £101 102.01
March interest: £102.01 x 1% = £1.0201 + £102.01 103.0301
April interest: £103.0301x 1% = £1.030301 + £103.0301 104.0604
May interest: £104.0604 x 1% = £1.040604 + £104.0604 105.101
June interest: £105.101 x 1% = £1.05101 + £105.101 106.15201
July interest: £106.15201 x 1% = £1.0615201 + £106.15201 107.21353
August interest: £107.21353 x 1% = £1.0721353 + £107.21353 108.28566
September interest: £108.28566 x 1% = £1.0828566 + £108.28566 109.36851
October interest: £109.36851 x 1% = £1.0936851 + £109.36851 110.46219
November interest: £110.46219 x 1% = £1.1046219 + £110.46219 111.56681
December interest: £111.56681 x 1% = £1.1156681 + £111.56681 112.68247

Therefore the APR is 12.68%

Entry into credit agreements

The agreement

The Act defines the form and content of a regulated agreement. If either the debtor or
the creditor do not sign the document, in its prescribed form, the agreement is not
properly executed. As a result, the agreement is unenforceable without a court order.
The agreement must include all the terms of the agreement, including any cancellation
rights. Once the agreement has been made, a copy of the executed agreement must be
sent to the debtor.

Cancellable agreements

The debtor has the right to cancel the regulated agreement within a short time after it
has been executed, if any preliminary negotiations included legal representations.
This is the cooling off period and does not apply if the unexecuted agreement is signed
on the lender’s premises or oral representations did not take place in the preliminary
negotiations. If the debtor chooses to exercise these cancellation rights, the agreement
is treated as if it had never existed. Therefore, all monies that the debtor has received
as a result of the agreement are to be repaid to the creditor.
Lending 173

Other amendments to the 1974 legislation include:

• customers will now be asked to sign a separate box if they want to take out
additional insurance cover along with a loan or credit card, such as payment
protection insurance

• if an APR is included in an advertisement, it will always need to be more


prominent than all the other financial information

• there will be a standard method for calculating the APR for credit cards; the
idea behind this is to allow consumers to compare the interest rates on different
cards more readily

• the charges for repaying a loan early will be restricted to interest for one month
and 28 days (two months); prior to the changes in the legislation, this charge
was two months and 28 days interest (three months).
174 Banking Operations

Question time 7
1 What is an arrangement fee? When and why should such a fee be charged?

2 Should a bank always insist on having security when lending to a customer?

3 Why is a cash flow forecast useful to a banker?

4 State briefly the points that should be considered when analysing a lending proposition assuming
that you are satisfied about the integrity and means of the proposed borrower.
Lending 175

5 What is the significance of a customer having a land telephone line when credit scoring a loan
application?

6 What is the difference between a capital release loan and a bridging loan?

7 What information can a banker obtain about a personal customer from their bank account?

Check your answers at the back of the book.


176 Banking Operations

Review

Now consider the main learning points which were introduced in this chapter.
Go through them and tick each one when you are happy that you fully understand
each point.
Then check back to the objectives at the beginning of the chapter and match them to
the learning points.
Reread any section you are unsure of before moving on.

The general principles of good lending can be summarised as:


the borrower, the proposition, security, repayment and remuneration. ■
Credit scoring is a statistical means of assessing the probability of repayment
of credit for an individual or small business who supplies specific data when
applying for credit. By using statistics on the past performance, it is possible
to predict the future credit repayment pattern of customers who have similar
financial characteristics. ■
An overdraft is a negative balance on a current account and is repayable
on demand. ■
Personal loans are (normally) unsecured loans for a fixed period of time used
to finance the purchase of a specific item. ■
A variety of mortgages are available on the market including: interest only,
repayment, Muslim, fixed rate. ■
Normally associated with house purchase transactions, bridging finance is
used where a major purchase has to be paid for before the customer receives
funds from a major sale. ■
A term loan is usually granted to a business to assist with the financing
of an asset. ■
The Consumer Credit Act aims to provide protection for the consumer
by licensing credit providers and other organisations. ■
Lending 177

Key words in this chapter are given below. There is space to


write your own revision notes and to add any other words or
phrases that you want to remember.

arrangement fee

margin

canons of lending

credit scoring

cash flow projection

scorecard

application scoring

behavioural scoring

interest only mortgage

repayment mortgage

Muslim mortgage

equity release

irrevocable mandate

term loans

covenants

APR
178 Banking Operations

Multiple choice questions 7


Try these self-test questions to assess your understanding of what you have read in this chapter.
The answers are at the back of the book.

1 A statement produced by a business borrower estimating future income and expenditure is known
as which one of the following?

A a profit and loss account

B a cash flow statement

C a cash flow projection

D a debtor/creditor listing

2 Which one of the following statements is true?

A lenders generally charge lower rates on unsecured loans than those on secured loans

B lenders generally charge higher rates of interest on higher risk loans

C lenders only charge arrangement fees on high risk loans

D lenders’ rates of interest are mainly determined by competitors’ rates of interest

3 Eric’s account balance is £2,204.56dr. What type of account does he have?

A savings account

B deposit account

C current account

D high interest investment account

4 Which one of following is true in relation to bridging loans?

A banks are generally willing to offer bridging finance whether or not the borrower has sold
their existing property

B most building societies provide bridging finance

C bridging finance is usually offered for short periods of time

D bridging finance always requires the backing of a standard security


Lending 179

Multiple choice questions 7


5 Which one of the following is the main reason why banks and building societies target first time
buyers for mortgage business?

A they tend to be more aware of the processes involved

B the mortgage can be set up more quickly and at lower cost

C there is a prospect of cross-sales over a long period of time

D first time buyers are a lower risk to lenders

6 Which one of the following is the main purpose of an arrangement fee?

A to maximise the profit from the lending transaction

B to pay any legal bills incurred by the customer

C to act as a cash buffer in the event of default on the loan

D to cover the bank’s costs in setting up the loan

7 Which one of the following would not be taken into account when considering a lending
proposition?

A the borrower’s financial acumen

B the nationality of the borrower

C the age of the borrower

D the maturity of the borrower


180 Banking Operations
Securities for Advances 181

8 Securities for Advances

Objectives

By the end of this chapter, you should be able to:

• Explain why a bank takes security.

• Differentiate between direct and third party security.

• Describe the attributes of a good security.

• Describe the main forms of security encountered in banks, namely:


guarantees, standard securities, assignation of life policies, pledge
of marketable securities, bonds and floating charges, cash deposits.

• Explain what is meant by the discharge of security.


182 Banking Operations

Introduction

By now you will be aware that any decision by a bank to lend money to a customer
will depend on that customer’s ability to repay, but in a great many cases, even where
a bank is satisfied as to a customer’s ability to repay, it will look for security to be
granted in its favour. In this chapter we’ll look at the main reasons why a bank takes
security, the attributes of a good security and at some of the more common types and
features of security taken by a bank.

Why does a bank take security?

As previously discussed, it is not customary for a bank to lend to a customer unless it


is completely satisfied that the advance, whether by way of loan, overdraft or
otherwise, will be repaid from the customer’s resources. In other words, the banker
must be satisfied by the viability of the proposal.

It is not normal practice to lend to a customer where the decision is based largely
on the value of the security offered, that is, a bank’s agreement to lend should depend
on its view of the customer’s current and future ability to repay. Although
consideration will be given to the need for security, it should not be regarded as an
alternative source of repayment. That said, it is still the case that the availability of
security is a crucial factor to be considered by the bank in deciding whether or not to
lend the money as there is always an element of risk. For example, a customer may
lose their job and have insufficient income to repay the bank loan or the customer’s
business may not bring in the amount of money predicted in the cash flow forecast, or
worse, the business may fail and the customer may be declared bankrupt.

It’s perhaps useful to think of the banker as a trapeze artist. When the trapeze artist
is performing his act, he does not do so thinking that at any moment he is about to fall,
but there is always a possibility that this will happen – hence a safety net. Security
fulfils a similar role as the safety net for the banker. A loan should never be made if the
banker feels that the only way to obtain repayment will be to realise the security.
However, unforeseen circumstances could conspire to make it difficult, if not
impossible, for the customer to make repayment – hence the need for security. It allows
the banker to sleep more easily at night!

We looked at limited companies earlier and you should remember that a director
of a company is not personally liable for the company’s debts; therefore there is always
a risk that the company may go into liquidation with insufficient assets to repay bank
borrowing. In short, a bank looks for security in an attempt to protect itself against
unforeseen circumstances and the possibility of the customer becoming insolvent.

In the event of a company being unable to pay its debts, its creditors will be entitled
to rank on the assets of the company in the following order:

1 Holders of a standard security


2 Preferential creditors (for example employees
for wages, VAT payments due, rates)
3 Holders of a bond and floating charge
4 Unsecured creditors
5 Shareholders
Securities for Advances 183

You can see from this how important it is that a bank holds security and that the
security is properly constituted.

Quick question

What are the most common types of security available?

Write your answer here before reading on.

Some of the more common types of security are:

• guarantee

• security over a dwelling house

• security over a shop, warehouse or factory

• assignation of a life policy

• pledge of marketable securities (stocks and shares)

• bond and floating charge (can be granted by a company)

• pledge of a cash deposit.

There are other types of security available to a bank, such as a mortgage over a
fishing vessel, security over produce, an assignation of interest in a trust estate, but
here we will consider only the above types which are the ones that are more likely to
arise on a day-to-day basis.

Quick question

What is the difference between direct security and third party security?

Write your answer here before reading on.

Direct security and third party security

Direct security is security granted by the borrower for their own obligations whereas
third party security is provided by someone other than the borrower but is available
for the borrower’s obligations (but not necessarily the obligations of the party granting
the security – much will depend on how the security deed is drawn).
184 Banking Operations

The distinction between direct security and third party security is important as in
the event of the insolvency of a customer if direct security is realised (that is, if a bank
takes steps to convert its security into cash) and the proceeds are applied in repayment
of the customer‘s debt, part of the customer‘s estate has gone towards repayment of
the debt; therefore the bank must deduct the value of the security from its claim against
the customer’s estate. If the security held is third party security, its value does not
require to be deducted from the customer’s debt; therefore the bank would not be
required to claim a reduced amount from the estate of the customer.

Example
A bank holds security worth £50,000 for a customer‘s debt of £100,000. The
customer is declared bankrupt and it has been agreed that all creditors will
receive a dividend of £0.50 per £1.00 of debt.

If the security held is direct security, the situation will be:

Amount of debt £100,000


Less value of security £ 50,000
Amount of claim £ 50,000
Dividend paid (50,000 x £0.50 ) £ 25,000
Loss to the bank £ 25,000

If the security held is third party security, the situation will be:

Amount of debt (therefore amount of claim) £100,000


Dividend paid (100,000 x £0.50 ) £ 50,000
£ 50,000
Value of security £ 50,000
Loss to the bank Nil

You can see therefore that third party security is of greater benefit to the bank
than security provided by the customer.

Quick question

What do you think makes for a good security?

Write your answer here before reading on.

Attributes of a good security

Now that you understand why a bank takes security, we’ll look at what attributes a
good security should have. So that the bank can rely on security provided, it must be
fully enforceable and should be able to withstand challenge by the borrower or one of
the other creditors. The bank should also know at all times how much the security is
worth and its value should not decrease before it can be relied upon.
Securities for Advances 185

As you will be aware, the following three attributes are important when considering
security:

• simplicity of title

• stability of value

• realisability.

It may be that the various items of security we are about to consider will not possess
all of the good attributes as there is an argument that there is no such thing as the
perfect banking security, but the merits of each form of security may be judged
according to the following.

Simplicity of title

It is important to both the bank and its customer that the security can be completed
easily and cheaply. It should be relatively easy to ascertain that the person proposing
to grant the security is able to do so and, if security is to be granted over an asset, the
asset is actually owned by them.

This attribute is present in most forms of security although in the case of a security
to be granted over a property of some description, such as a dwelling house or a shop,
it is sometimes necessary for the ownership of the property to be investigated by
checking the title deeds. This will almost always be undertaken by solicitors acting on
behalf of the bank. Ideally, the title to the subject of a security should be free from all
liabilities or anything that may prevent the bank from dealing with the security as it
sees fit.

Stability of value

It is vitally important that a bank can rely on the value that it has placed on the security
at the time it agrees to lend to the customer and that the value of the security will not
fall during the currency of the advance so that, if the customer is unable to repay the
sum borrowed, the bank will be repaid in full by realising the security. For this reason
it is a good idea when calculating how much cover is provided by security to allow a
margin as a safeguard against fluctuations in value.

Quick question

Why do you think a bank would discount the value of a security item?

Write your answer here before reading on.

There are several reasons why a bank will choose to discount the value of a security,
including:

• the value of the security may fall from time to time, therefore the bank may wish
to build in a contingency against the value of the security being lower at the
time of realisation than the value at the time the advance was agreed
186 Banking Operations

• if the bank has to realise the security, there could be associated expenses,
therefore the bank would want to have these costs covered from the proceeds of
the realisation of the security

• if the security has to be realised, the customer may well have been having
financial difficulties and so has not been able to meet the ongoing interest charges
on the borrowing – these may be added to the outstanding obligation;
consequently, the final debt that the customer owes the bank may be greater
than the amount of the outstanding borrowing; again, the bank would want to
guard against possible loss by having a margin on the underlying value of the
security.

The level of discount is normally expressed as a percentage; for example, for


security purposes, residential property is usually valued at 80% of market value. These
percentages may vary from time to time and may be different from one bank to
another. You should therefore check what the current security discount values are in
your bank.

Finally, the value of the security should also be easily ascertainable; for example,
the price of shares is given in many daily newspapers or on websites.

Realisability

You should always remember that, if the worst comes to the worst and converting the
security to cash is the only option left for the bank to recover its money, it is of the
utmost importance that the bank is able to realise its security quickly and without
undue formality. Any delay is likely to increase the risk of the debt and/or the interest
accruing thereon not being repaid in full.

Not all security held by the bank will be quickly realisable. For example, the bank
may hold a security over a dwelling house owned by the customer but the house is let
out to a third party who may enjoy certain rights of occupation and the bank would
not be able to sell the house unless the sale was subject to the tenant’s rights. This
means that the new owner of the house could not live there but would receive the
rental monies paid by the tenant. The existence of the tenant’s rights will probably
mean that there are fewer people willing to purchase the house than would have been
the case if the bank were able to offer vacant possession, therefore it may take longer
to sell the house and/or the price obtained may not be as high.

Types of security
Guarantee
A guarantee is an undertaking by one party to answer for the debt or default of another
person. A guarantee differs from other types of security in that it does not by itself
provide the bank with any security rights or an asset with which it can deal; for
example, if the bank held security over shares it can sell the shares on realising its
security. This is not the case with a guarantee. If the customer is unable to repay the
debt, the only action that can be taken as regards the guarantor is for the bank to
demand payment from him. If the guarantor is unable or unwilling to meet his
obligations in terms of the guarantee, the bank is in much the same position as it
would have been had it lent to the customer on an unsecured basis.
Securities for Advances 187

In such circumstances it would be necessary for the bank to raise an action against
the person who has granted the guarantee.

Quick question

Who are three parties to a guarantee?

Write your answer here before reading on.

The three parties to a guarantee are:

1 the person who has granted the guarantee, undertaking to make payment – the
guarantor or the cautioner or the surety

2 the party in whose favour the guarantee has been granted – the creditor or lender

3 the person whose obligations have been guaranteed – the debtor or the principal
debtor or the primary obligant.

A guarantee will not provide the bank with a tangible security nor any asset to
dispose of and is therefore only as good as the person granting it. Unless the guarantor
has the means to meet his obligations, the guarantee could be worthless. It is for this
reason that it is essential in all cases to carry out checks that the guarantor, if called
upon to do so, could implement his guarantee obligation. Not surprisingly, in a great
many cases, the bank will require the guarantee to be supported by some form of first
party security from the guarantor. Later we will look at security over stocks and shares
and over property which can be granted in support of a guarantee, which is a third
party security as the guarantee obligation is a first party obligation as far as the
guarantor is concerned.

On the basis that the guarantor is financially sound and reliable and/or the
guarantee is fully supported by tangible security, the security can be constituted easily
and cheaply. While at the time a guarantee is granted the guarantor may appear to be
financially strong, this position may deteriorate during the lifetime of the guarantee,
so it is essential to continually monitor the guarantor’s circumstances. For example, if
the guarantor is not a customer of the bank, it is likely that, at the time the guarantee
is contemplated, the guarantor will be asked to provide details of income and
expenditure, to be confirmed by the guarantor’s bankers and initiating a status enquiry
which should be updated on an annual or biannual basis.

It has been said that a guarantee is the easiest form of security to constitute but the
most difficult to realise. This is because few guarantors, when they sign a guarantee,
expect to be called upon to make payment. Often therefore, a demand from the bank
to make payment under the guarantee will come as a complete shock to the system
and if there is some way round having to make payment you can be sure that the
guarantor, or at least his solicitor, will look for it! The banker must ensure therefore
that any possible loopholes are closed. For this reason, a guarantee should always
take the form of the bank’s standard guarantee document.
188 Banking Operations

Quick question

What must the banker be wary of when dealing with the guarantor?

Write your answer here before reading on.

The most obvious defence open to a guarantor is that he did not fully appreciate
what he was signing or that he was coerced into signing the guarantee by the bank
which must always therefore exercise great care in all its dealings with the proposed
guarantor, especially during the preliminary negotiations. Basically the bank should
always request the borrower to obtain a suitable guarantee and make the necessary
arrangements for the granting of the guarantee. The bank should take great care not
to become involved in any preliminary negotiations with the proposed guarantor
because if the guarantor were to be able to plead at a later date that he was induced to
grant the guarantee by the influence of the bank, he might be able to escape liability
and the bank would lose the benefit of the security. We will look at this concept of
undue influence shortly.

The bank, however, may be asked one or two questions by a prospective guarantor
as to the financial condition and the prospects of the borrower. In such circumstances
the bank has to balance its duty of confidentiality to its customer with its obligation
not to misrepresent the facts to the guarantor and thereby put the validity of the
guarantee at risk.

Quick question

In this situation, how do you think the banker should progress matters?

Write your answer here before reading on.

The safest course of action open to the bank is to have a meeting with the prospective
guarantor and the borrower both present, or to obtain the written authority of the
borrower to disclose information to the proposed guarantor. Either way, during the
course of discussions with the guarantor the banker should not disclose any
information that is not specifically requested and make the responses strictly factual.
The banker must however guard against misrepresenting the facts to the guarantor
by remaining silent when it is obvious from a comment made by the guarantor that he
is labouring under a misapprehension about the borrower’s affairs.
Securities for Advances 189

Quick question

What do you understand by the term “undue influence”?

Write your answer here before reading on.

The concept of undue influence has been with us for centuries and applies where a
stronger party, as a matter of law or provable from prevailing circumstances, induces
a weaker party to enter into a contract where he or she would not otherwise do so. The
courts will usually be willing to set such a contract aside when the weaker party
claims that they would not have entered into the contract if they had realised and
understood the pressure being levied upon them to do so. Nevertheless, the courts
will be unwilling to set aside the contract where the weaker party has received a
benefit from the contract: National Westminster Bank PLC -v- Morgan, 1985.

Within the legal framework, in general, there are certain defined relationships,
where it would be presumed that undue influence had taken place, such as doctor/
patient, parent/child, solicitor/client, guardian/ward, religious adviser/disciple and
trustee/beneficiary – the stronger party being the first one, when a contract had been
entered into, unless evidence could be produced to make the court decide otherwise.
In other relationships, such as child/parent, husband/wife: Howes -v- Bishop, 1909,
Bank of Montreal -v- Stuart, 1911 and engaged couples: Zemet -v- Hyman, 1961, there
would be a need for the weaker party, based on prevailing circumstances, to prove
that undue influence took place, thereby enabling the contract to be set aside.

Quick question

In what circumstances might a bank become involved in litigation involving pleas of undue
influence?

Write your answer here before reading on.

The following illustrations will show how involvement can arise.

Case studies
1
Consider the case where a guarantee has been entered into by the weaker party
who is not well versed in financial matters, and the security has been taken to
secure the liabilities of one person (subsequently shown to be the “stronger”
person) owed to a bank. In these circumstances, as undue influence would be
presumed to have taken place, the bank’s security may be held to be
unenforceable, thereby resulting in the bank’s advance being unsecured.
190 Banking Operations

2
A bank may be considering taking a security over property owned jointly by a
husband and wife to secure the liabilities to the bank of, say, the husband. It
would be possible for the wife to claim that she did not enter into the security of
her own free will and, as such, the security could be considered as void and set
aside. If such a plea were to succeed, the bank would be holding unenforceable
security.

3
A bank itself could be accused of exercising undue influence. This may arise
where the person giving the security, and the person whose liabilities are being
secured, both maintain accounts with the same bank. If this happened, the bank
has a clear conflict of interests and it could be argued that the bank, however
subtly, wanted some form of security and “influenced” one party into giving
such security.

To all intents and purposes, the only way banks can totally prevent any plea of
undue influence succeeding is to insist that independent legal advice is always taken
by the guarantor from his/her own solicitor. In the case of O’Hara -v- Allied Irish
Banks and Another, 1984 it was held that where a prospective guarantor is not a
customer of the bank, there is no duty of care on the bank to explain the nature and
effect of the contract of security being entered into, nor the maximum claim the bank
can make thereunder. However, where the prospective guarantor is a customer of the
bank, it has been held that the bank, because it has a duty of care to that person,
should insist on independent legal advice where the prospective guarantor is:

• not well versed financially, or

• vulnerable to the pressure of the principal debtor, or

• charging the bulk of his financial assets as security, or

• normally relies upon the bank for financial advice.

From time to time, after the guarantee has been signed, the guarantor may ask the
bank to tell him how the borrower’s account stands. Again the banker must exercise
caution and confine his answer to something along the lines of “Your liability in terms
of your guarantee presently stands at £ …”. If the balance on the borrower’s account
is greater than the amount of the guarantee, the banker would reply “Your guarantee
is being fully relied upon at present.”

Quick question

Remind yourself what “joint and several liability” means.

Write your answer here before reading on.


Securities for Advances 191

If two or more guarantors grant a guarantee, they are jointly and severally liable
for payment of the guarantee obligation. We looked at this concept earlier in the course
and you will remember that joint and several liability means that each party is liable
for the full amount of the obligation.

Case study

The bank is proposing to lend the sum of £20,000 to James Wilson provided that
Mr Wilson can arrange for a suitable guarantee to be granted in favour of the
bank. Two days later Mr Wilson advises the bank that two of his friends, Brian
Johnstone and Elaine Smith, have agreed to grant a guarantee. The bank carries
out checks and is satisfied as to the means of both intending guarantors, but Mr
Johnstone does not seem to have the same amount of wealth as Mrs Smith and
she seems to be in a more secure job.
If the bank were to take two guarantees for £10,000 each, one from Brian
Johnstone and one from Elaine Smith, the most they could recover from Mrs
Smith would be £10,000, even if by that time Mr Johnstone was no longer able to
meet his obligations.
If the bank had taken a joint and several guarantee for £20,000 from Mrs Smith
and Mr Johnstone, then it would have been able to recover the whole £20,000
from Mrs Smith.

A standard bank guarantee contains a great number of important clauses which


we will not be examining here, but you should appreciate that each clause in a
guarantee has a specific purpose and any request by a prospective guarantor to amend
or delete any of the clauses in a standard bank guarantee should be referred to the
specialist department responsible for security for advances or to legal advisers,
depending on the practice of the particular bank.

Standard security

Heritable property, now referred to as “property with interest in land”, means land or
land with buildings on it and it is laid down in law that if someone owns a piece of
land then they own everything built on the land. It is possible for a bank to be granted
security over heritable property (and in fact it is one of the oldest forms of banking
security). A standard security was first introduced by the Conveyancing and Feudal
Reform (Scotland) Act 1970 and it is the only document that can be used to secure debt
against heritable property in Scotland.

The standard security contains a personal obligation either within the standard
security deed or in a separate deed which is basically an undertaking by the grantor of
the security to repay all monies due by the grantor to the bank, whether due at the
time the security is granted or to become due at any time in the future. The grantor
then charges the property to the bank to secure their obligations to the bank in terms
of the personal obligation. Once the standard security has been executed by the
grantor, the security is completed by recording it in the Land Registry.

An example of a very basic standard security is shown on the next page.


192 Banking Operations

To: The Scottish Commercial Bank plc

I Gordon William Robertson, 24 Drummond Drive Aberdeen

(hereinafter referred to as “the Obligant”) hereby undertake to pay to THE


SCOTTISH COMMERCIAL BANK plc (hereinafter referred to as “the Bank”)
on demand all sums of principal, interest and charges which are now and which
may at any time hereafter become due to the Bank by the Obligant.

For which sums the said Gordon William Robertson


hereby grant(s) a Standard Security in favour of the Bank over ALL and
WHOLE the subjects known as 24 Tapley Crescent, Aberdeen

The standard conditions specified in Schedule 3 to the Conveyancing and


Feudal Reform (Scotland) Act 1970, and any lawful variation thereof operative
for the time being, shall apply; And I/We grant warrandice; And I/We consent
to registration for execution.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF

As you can see, this style is very basic and would not be adequate in a real life
situation. Normally standard security deeds are fairly complex and are prepared by
solicitors instructed to act on behalf of the bank. The bank’s solicitors will also normally
either provide the bank with a formal report on title or, at the very least, confirm to the
bank that the party granting the security over the property actually owns it and that
there are no legal obstacles preventing the property being charged to the bank.

Quick question

Why should the bank check the value of the property?

Write your answer here before reading on.

Before taking a standard security, a bank should ascertain that the value of the
property is sufficient for the bank’s purposes as, in the event of the customer being
unable to repay the bank the sums borrowed, it will probably be necessary for the
bank to sell the property on the open market. A bank will normally seek a formal
valuation from a firm of chartered surveyors. Thinking about the earlier section on
discounted security values, most banks will have a policy of lending against a
percentage of the property valuation. In effect they “write down” the value of the
property to cater for eventualities such as a fall in property prices generally or the
property market not being as active as it was at the time the valuation was taken.

Other factors which may influence the written down value of a property may be
restrictions on the use of commercial property which limits the number of interested
parties to whom the bank could sell the property, or the fact that a property is rented
or leased to a third party and in the event of the bank selling the property it could not
offer vacant possession, that is, the property would have to be sold subject to the
rights of the sitting tenant.
Securities for Advances 193

The Matrimonial Homes (Family Protection) (Scotland) Act 1981

Banks take a great number of standard securities over dwelling houses or flats either
as securities for loans granted specifically for the purchase of the properties – house
purchase loans – or as security for some other unrelated lending or in support of a
guarantee.

Often banks are faced with proposals which involve a standard security being
granted over a house which is occupied by a husband and wife, but title to the property
is in name of the husband or wife only. In this situation it is obviously only the
registered owner who should grant the standard security which could lead to a
situation, in the event of the bank calling up its standard security, of the other party
only being aware that his or her house is charged to the bank when the bank are
demanding that he or she moves out! The law recognises that even though a spouse is
not shown on the title deeds as actually owning the property, he or she will have
certain rights against the other spouse (basically the “owner” could not throw the
spouse out in the street) and against any party in whose favour a standard security
has been granted over the property, for example banks and building societies.

This is basically the protection afforded to what are called non-entitled spouses
under the Matrimonial Homes (Family Protection) (Scotland) Act 1981. In cases where the
bank is taking a standard security over a “matrimonial home”, title to which is in the
name of one spouse only, it must obtain the consent of the non-entitled spouse. The
banks normally include the consent within the standard security deed itself, therefore
in the case of standard securities granted over matrimonial homes, the security deed
should be signed by both parties either as proprietors or as proprietor and consentor.

Quick question

How does this Act apply in those cases where the borrower is not married?

Write your answer here before reading on.

Banks must also consider the implications of the Act even when lending to single
borrowers as they must be satisfied that there is not a non-entitled spouse who could
deprive the bank of its right to obtain vacant possession. Normally the borrower will
be asked to sign an affidavit declaring that there is no non-entitled spouse. If it does
this its rights will not be prejudiced if it later emerges that there is a non-entitled
spouse with occupancy rights.

Civil Partnership Act 2004


(as amended by the Family Law (Scotland) Act 2006)

Section 101 of the Civil Partnership Act 2004 gave civil partners occupancy rights in
certain circumstances in their family home. The underlying principle of the Act is
that, where one civil partner is the owner or tenant of the home in which the couple
normally live, the other civil partner will have the right to occupy that home and to
remain in occupation, notwithstanding the actions of the owner/tenant civil partner.
194 Banking Operations

Postponed securities

It is not uncommon for banks to request a borrower or guarantor to grant a standard


security over their dwelling house only to discover that a standard security has already
been granted in favour of the building society to secure a mortgage with them. In such
cases there is nothing to stop two or more standard securities being granted over the
same property, although most standard security deeds contain a prohibition on the
grantor granting any further securities over the property. In such a situation it would
be necessary to obtain the consent of the party who already holds a security over the
property – the prior chargeholder.

When two or more securities have been granted over the same property, it is
necessary to establish which party is entitled to be repaid first in the event of the
property being sold. This could be very important in the event of the sale price of the
property being less than the borrowing facilities secured by the property.

Case study

Richard Hope borrows £130,000 from The Friendly Building Society to buy a house.
He grants a standard security over the house as security. He has a business
account with The Scottish Commercial Bank plc from whom he borrows £17,500
by way of overdraft secured by a second standard security over the house.

A few years later he wishes to carry out some improvements to the house,
including a new kitchen and a conservatory. He borrows £40,000 from the bank
where he maintains his personal accounts, The National Rutland Bank plc, and
grants them a standard security over the house.

In the event of it being necessary to sell the house in order to repay all of Richard
Hope’s obligations, the house will have to be sold for at least £187,500 after
deducting legal expenses in connection with the sale.

What would happen if the sale price was only £150,000?

The Conveyancing and Feudal Reform (Scotland) Act sets out the rules in relation to
the order of priority of standard securities. The rule is that standard securities will
rank in the order in which they are presented for recording. In the above case study
therefore, the standard security in favour of The National Rutland Bank plc would
rank third and any shortfall in the sale proceeds of the property would result in part
of the borrowing with that bank not being repaid. This illustrates the importance of
having the property valued by professional valuers.

The position is, regrettably, not quite as straightforward as “first come, first served”
as the Act lays down further provisions. In the event of a second or subsequent
standard security being granted over a property, the creation of the charge is intimated
to the prior chargeholder. The maximum amount which the prior chargeholder can
look to the security as cover will then be restricted to the amount outstanding at the
time the second or subsequent charge was intimated, therefore any further advances
would not be covered by the standard security. In addition, the rule in Clayton’s case
will come into effect, therefore, should the account turn over any new debt, this would
not be covered by the charge.
Securities for Advances 195

In order to protect a bank’s position when a subsequent security is granted over a


property which is charged to it, on receipt of intimation of the creation of the
subsequent charge the bank should stop operations on the customer’s account and
permit lodgements in permanent reduction of the debt only. This action will not be
necessary if the debt stands for reduction only, that is, a business term loan or a house
purchase loan, as with this account there will only be lodgements reducing the debt
passing through the account.

The creation of a subsequent charge will be intimated to a bank by the solicitors


acting on behalf of the other lender and the bank will be requested to confirm:

• that it has no objection to the creation of the subsequent charge

• the amount due to the bank as at the date of intimation of the postponed charge

• that it is not under any obligation to advance further monies to the customer
under terms of the security deed or any other contract with the borrower.

Quick question

What is the situation when the amount of the overdraft fluctuates?

Write your answer here before reading on.

Fluctuating overdrafts

What happens in cases where the bank is making facilities available to a customer by
way of overdraft and the balance fluctuates and turns over as a result of lodgements
to the account and the payment of cheques drawn on the account? It would not be
very satisfactory if on every occasion a subsequent charge was intimated to the bank
it was necessary to stop operations on the customer’s account.

In such circumstances, it is possible for the lenders to agree that they may continue
to provide fluctuating facilities and that their securities will rank in priority to, or
postponed to, each other’s charge up to agreed limits. This can be achieved either by
a letter issued by the bank whose charge is to be postponed or by means of a ranking
agreement entered into among the grantor of the security and all the lenders.

Example
Ranking of securities
1st Standard security in favour of The Scottish Commercial Bank to the extent
of £45,000 plus interest.
2nd Standard security in favour of The National Rutland Bank plc to the extent
of £27,750 plus interest.
3rd Standard security in favour of the said The Scottish Commercial Bank plc
to an unlimited extent.
4th Standard security in favour of the said The National Rutland Bank plc to
an unlimited extent thereafter.
196 Banking Operations

Style of letter of postponement

16 December 20XX

To: The Friendly Building Society


27 Princes Street
Edinburgh

Dear Sirs

Mr and Mrs R Lyon (“the Borrowers”)


Property at 24 Oxford Drive, Aberdufftown
Mortgage Number 21/26354/AR/354656-876

In consideration of your making a further advance to the Borrowers on the security of


the above property we, The Scottish Commercial Bank plc hereby agree to the
postponement of the Standard Security detailed below in our favour over the said
property to the further advance by you of £20,000 (TWENTY THOUSAND
POUNDS STERLING) which further advance will have the effect of increasing the
capital liability of the Borrowers to you to a sum not exceeding £50,000 (FIFTY
THOUSAND POUNDS STERLING)

Yours faithfully
For and on behalf of
THE SCOTTISH COMMERCIAL BANK plc

Manager

Note referred to:-


Standard Security dated 19 February 20XX and recorded/ registered 20 February 20XX

Assignation of a life policy

A life policy is a contract to pay a cash sum on the occurrence of a specified event or
the elapse of an agreed period of time in return for the payment of a premium. For
example, in return for a premium which may be paid monthly, annually or in a single
instalment, a life assurance company will pay a cash sum to the person paying the
premium (the policyholder) on the survival of the policyholder until, say, their sixtieth
birthday. Alternatively, the contract may be to pay a sum to the relatives of the
policyholder in the event of the policyholder’s death.

An individual will take out a policy of insurance with a life assurance company for
a variety of reasons – perhaps looking for a means of investment, in which case they
will take out an endowment policy entitling the policyholder to a share in the profits
of the life assurance company, or wishing to protect their survivors in the event of
their death during a specified period, for example during the duration of a mortgage,
in which case they will arrange a term assurance policy. They may wish to provide for
their survivors in the event of their death whenever that occurs, in which case a whole
life policy is the appropriate product.
Securities for Advances 197

The person who arranges the policy and becomes responsible for payment of the
premiums is the proposer. The person who is to be paid the proceeds of the policy is
the beneficiary. Often the proposer and the beneficiary are the same person. The person
who is the subject of the contract, that is, on whose death and/or survival the policy
proceeds are to be paid, is the life assured. Often the proposer, the beneficiary and the
life assured are the same person! The assurer is the life assurance company which
issues the policy and undertakes to pay out the sum assured in return for the premiums.

Question time 8
In each of the following examples identify the proposer, the beneficiary, the life assured and the type
of assurance that would be taken out.

Example 1

James Robertson wishes to provide for his retirement and is prepared to pay premiums to a life
assurance company so that when he is sixty years old he will receive £100,000. He is married to Jean
and has two sons, William and John.

Proposer:
Beneficiary:
Life Assured:
Type of Assurance:

Example 2:

Graeme Jackson wishes his son Colin to get off to a good start when he graduates from University
and is willing to ensure that Colin receives the sum of £45,000 on his twenty first birthday.

Proposer
Beneficiary
Life Assured
Type of Assurance

Example 3:

Graeme Jackson has a young daughter, Janice. He wishes to make provisions so that when she gets
married he will be able to pay for a large wedding reception. He reckons that she will not get married
until she is at least twenty years old.

Proposer
Beneficiary
Life Assured
Type of Assurance

Continue on the next page.


198 Banking Operations

Example 4:

William Ross wishes to make sure that his wife, Helen, will be provided for in the event of his dying
while he is still earning a salary.

Proposer
Beneficiary
Life Assured
Type of Assurance

Example 5:

Robert Jones is concerned that his young wife, Fiona, will not be able to support herself after he dies.

Proposer
Beneficiary
Life Assured
Type of Assurance

Check your answers at the back of the book.

How a bank can be granted security over a life policy

Security over a life policy is taken by way of an assignation in security which is granted
by the policyholder (the proposer) in favour of the bank. The assignation is granted in
favour of the bank in consideration of sums due and to become due to the bank (that
is, it is normally an “all monies” deed). In terms of the assignation, the bank is entitled
to be paid the proceeds of the policy on maturity.

The bank is also given the power to sell or surrender the policy. The surrender
value of a policy is the amount that the insurance company will be entitled to pay out
to cancel the policy. It is normally only endowment types of policies that acquire
surrender values; term policies and whole life policies do not acquire surrender values
as, in the case of a term policy, on maturity there is no sum payable by the insurance
company and with whole life policies the insurance company cannot say how much
longer the insurance policy will run. The surrender value of a policy is often
considerably less than the maturity value, although much will depend on the term
remaining until the agreed maturity date of the policy; that is, if a policy is taken out
for a period of twenty years you would expect the surrender value after two years to
be considerably less than the surrender value after eighteen years.

An alternative to surrendering the policy would be for the bank to sell the policy to
one of the specialised companies who deal in this market.

The bank should obtain the original policy from the proposed grantor of the
assignation, and the details of the insurance company, policy number, amount, date,
etc of the policy should be detailed in the assignation deed. Most banks will have
different requirements as to how much of the policy details are repeated in the
assignation.
Securities for Advances 199

There are no hard and fast rules. Basically there should be sufficient details in the
assignation to identify the policy and distinguish it from any other policy. On this
basis the assignation should contain as a minimum the name of the insurance company
and the policy number.

Having taken an assignation of the policy it is obviously important that the


insurance company is aware that the policy has been assigned so that the bank can
collect the maturity proceeds of the policy or surrender/sell it. To achieve this, the
bank intimates the assignation of the policy to the insurance company and seeks the
following confirmations:

• that the insurance company acknowledges the assignation and will be prepared
to act accordingly

• that the policy has not already been assigned

• that the premiums are paid up to date

• that the insurance company itself does not have a claim on the policy.

As the bank’s security is wholly dependent on the policy remaining in force, it is


essential that the premiums are paid up to date as the policy may be cancelled due to
non payment. The banker should therefore make regular checks to ensure that the
premiums are being paid up to date. Most premiums are collected by way of direct
debit or standing order so it should be easy to check the customer’s account that the
premiums are being paid up to date.

Case study

The bank is experiencing some difficulty with its customer, William Farmer,
and is concerned at the level of his overdraft which is presently £45,000. The
only security held is an assignation of a policy which will mature in 18 months
time. The estimated maturity value of the policy is £50,000, but the current
surrender value of the policy is only £25,000.

The bank has written to Mr Farmer advising that he should take steps to reduce
the level of his overdraft and that it will not permit any further debits to the
account until he has paid in at least £15,000.

The following day, a direct debit for £25 is due to be paid to The Scottish Friendly
Assurance Company. Notwithstanding what the bank said to Mr Farmer, it
would be inadvisable for the bank to return the direct debit unpaid as to do so
could result in the life policy being cancelled and therefore affecting the value of
the bank’s security.

An assignation may be granted as direct security or as third party security, although


in cases where it is being granted to secure the obligations of third parties, it is often
preferable to take a guarantee from the assignor and to hold the assignation in support
of the assignor’s guarantee obligation. In this way the assignation will also be available
for the assignor’s own obligations to the bank (if any).
200 Banking Operations

Question time 9
1 What are the advantages to a bank in surrendering a life policy?

2 A bank grants a mortgage to James and Fiona Roundel. James works as an estate agent and Fiona
stays at home to look after their two children. The bank will be granted a standard security over
the house to be purchased and the value of the house is considerably more than the amount of the
mortgage. The couple have no other obligations to the bank. In these circumstances, what are the
advantages, if any, in the bank taking an assignation of a life policy?

Check your answers at the back of the book.


Securities for Advances 201

Pledge of marketable securities

Marketable securities are commonly called stocks and shares. A bank may be granted
security over shares in a company, although unless the shares in the company are
bought and sold on a recognised stock exchange it may be difficult, if not impossible,
for the bank to sell them if the need ever arose. The prices of shares quoted on the
Stock Exchange can fluctuate widely, especially at the time of the company’s results
or if there are rumours of a takeover bid or merger. You will appreciate therefore that
a security over shares does not possess at least one of the attributes of a good security
– stability of value. The price of shares is quite easy to obtain as they are quoted in
most national newspapers, in the Financial Times, on the internet or by contacting a
stockbroker.

Looking at the price of a share either in the financial pages of a newspaper, or


online, there are two points to remember:

• the price quoted is a mid market price

• the price may already be out of date.

Quick question

Can the buying and selling prices of a share be different, and if so, why?

Write your answer here before reading on.

Two prices are usually quoted – the selling price and the buying price. For example,
the share price of Multinational Conglomerates PLC may be 103p - 108p which means
that a buyer can buy shares for £1.08 each and a seller sell shares for £1.03 each. The
price quoted in the newspapers or on online for this particular share would probably
be 105p. The price in the paper will also be the closing price for the previous day’s
trading, so that if you see the share price in the newspaper at say, 11am on a Monday
morning, this is the mid-market price of the share when trading finished on the
previous Friday evening and the shares will already have been traded for around
three hours on the Monday morning.

A share in a company also has two values – nominal value and market value. The
nominal value of a share is the value which the company put on the shares when they
were issued and the market value is the value of the share on the Stock Exchange. For
example, a company may issue shares of 25p each, if the shares are traded on the
Stock Exchange the value of the shares may be more than 25p, they may also be less!

The nominal value of a share has no bearing at all on its market value which reflects
the supply and demand for the shares on the market. The views of investors will
influence this value; for example, what they think the company is actually worth and
whether or not they consider the company has good prospects. It is quite possible for
a company share to have a nominal value of 10p and a market value of, say, £4.50.
202 Banking Operations

When lending to a customer against the security of shares, it is advisable to allow


a reasonable margin for fluctuations in value. It is also preferable to obtain a security
over a diverse portfolio of shares if possible rather than the shares of one company
only, that is, do not put all your eggs in one basket! It is also worth remembering that
the lower the share price, the greater the impact will be of a 1p movement in the share
price. It is for these reasons that banks will normally heavily discount the value of
shares held in security – sometimes even valuing the security at nil.

Case study

A bank is lending to two customers, Mr Smith and Mrs Brown.

Mr Smith
Overdraft: £ 57,000
Security: 150,000 shares in ABC plc of 10p each
Current market value 40p £ 60,000

Mrs Brown
Overdraft: £200,000
Security: 72,000 shares in DEF plc of 25p each
Current market value £3.50 £252,000

If the share price of ABC plc falls by just 3p, the value of the shareholding
(£55,500) will be less than the amount owing to the bank, whereas the share
price of DEF plc can fall by over 70p and the advance would still be covered by
the value of the shareholding (72,000 @ £2.79 = £200,880). You should also keep
in mind that were the bank looking to realise this security and clear either of
these overdrafts, there would still be accrued interest to apply to these accounts,
thus increasing the amount of the overdraft.

This case underlines two important principles when lending against the security of
shares:

• always allow a sizeable margin for fluctuations in share prices

• if possible, take security over a portfolio of shares rather than the shares of one
company only.

How the security is constituted

When someone buys shares in a company, their name is noted in a register of members
which is maintained by the company or by its registrars. As evidence of ownership of
the shares, the holder of the shares will normally receive a share certificate which is
needed when the shares are sold. As a first step therefore, the bank should obtain the
share certificate or other document of title from the customer.

It is not enough, however, just to hold the certificate and do nothing else – a bank
will not be able to sell shares if the name on the share certificate and in the company’s
register is that of one of its customers. A certificate will therefore have to be issued in
the bank’s name and the bank to be shown in the company’s register as the owner of
the shares.
Securities for Advances 203

In practice, as strictly speaking the shares to be secured will remain the property of
the customer, and to distinguish shares held by a bank as security from shares held as
an investment, the shares are transferred into the name of a company set up specifically
to hold shares pledged to the bank. Such a company is a nominee company and is
shown in the company’s register as the “shareholder”; however, the customer will be
entitled to the dividends and to cast their vote at general meetings of the company.

To complete the security, the customer will normally be asked to execute a letter of
pledge. Every bank will have its own style of letter of pledge which provides evidence
that the shares in question have actually been secured to the bank and that the bank is
empowered to sell the shares in the event of the customer not meeting their liabilities
to the bank when called upon to do so.

Bond and floating charge

A bond and floating charge can only be granted by a company and, as the name
suggests, the charge does not attach to any particular company asset. For example, if
a company owned a property and granted a bond and floating charge to a bank, the
existence of the charge would not be registered in the Land Registry. Similarly, if the
company owned shares, the shares would not be transferred into the name of the
bank’s nominee company.

Once a company has granted a bond and floating charge in favour of a bank, it is
still free to deal with its assets in the ordinary course of business, although most
charges contain a prohibition on the company disposing of assets not in the ordinary
course of business.

A bond and floating charge empowers the holder to appoint a receiver who will
look after the interests of the bond and floating chargeholder and either sell off assets
of the company to repay the chargeholder or continue trading with a view to finding
a buyer for the whole business as a going concern. It is when a bank appoints a receiver
that the bond and floating charge attaches specifically to the assets owned by the
company at the time. When this happens the charge is said to crystallise.

In Scotland, all companies must be registered with the Registrar of Companies.


Each company must also maintain a Register of Charges with the Registrar and all
charges granted by a company must be registered within twenty-one days of being
created. A bond and floating charge is created when it is executed by the company,
whereas a standard security is created when it is registered in the Land Registry.

In most banks bonds and floating charges are prepared by a central specialist
department which will also attend to the registration of the charge. It is therefore
important that executed bonds and floating charges are returned to this department
as soon as possible so that the charge may be registered within the twenty-one day period.

As with standard securities, it is possible for a company to grant bonds and floating
charges in favour of two or more lenders. The charges take priority in the order in
which they are registered and when the creation of a subsequent bond and floating
charge is intimated to a lender they should stop operations on any fluctuating
overdraft to preserve their position. Again it is possible for two or more lenders to
enter into a ranking agreement to regulate the ranking of their bonds and floating charges.
204 Banking Operations

It is also possible to use such an agreement to regulate the ranking of standard


securities and bonds and floating charges, although the general rule is that a standard
security (fixed charge) takes priority over a bond and floating charge regardless of
when they were executed and registered.

Quick question

Recalling the attributes of a good security, how would a cash deposit measure up against them?

Write your answer here before reading on.

Pledge of a cash deposit

If you think back to the attributes of a good security, a security over a cash deposit
must be one of the few items of security that possess all of the attributes. If the deposit
to be pledged is lodged with the bank and the depositor signs a letter of pledge
securing the deposit to the bank and empowering the bank to uplift the funds and
apply them in reduction or repayment of the secured debt, that security has simplicity
of title as it is clear, without lengthy investigation, to whom the funds belong and the
security can be constituted easily and cheaply. The cash deposit will not fluctuate in
value therefore it has stability of value (leaving aside the argument that through time,
inflation will erode the value of cash) and its value is readily ascertainable. The security
will also be realisable as the bank can easily transfer the deposit from one account to
the secured debt.

The cash deposits are normally provided by a third party, either as direct security
or in support of a guarantee, although sometimes the borrower has funds which are
kept separate from the business accounts and the bank may wish to prevent the
customer from uplifting these funds while indebted to the bank.

Normally the deposit is placed in an interest bearing account and the depositor is
asked to sign a letter of pledge authorising the bank to hold the funds in security for
the particular purpose and to uplift and apply them if need be. It is sometimes considered
desirable to hold a signed withdrawal request with the completed letter of pledge.

If the deposit is lodged with a building society or another bank and the building
society permits the sums in the account to be pledged (it is not possible to obtain a
pledge over funds lodged in an ISA – the funds would normally be transferred into
the name of the bank’s nominee company) a letter of pledge would be taken.

Quick question

What does “discharging” a security mean?

Write your answer here before reading on.


Securities for Advances 205

Discharge of security

Often all that is required to discharge security is for the bank to confirm in writing
that it is no longer looking to the item of security for the obligations of the customer.
This is what would happen in the case of a guarantee or a letter of pledge in respect of
a cash deposit, although in some cases a bank may actually return a cancelled
guarantee to the former guarantor.

In the case of a pledge of marketable securities, the bank can advise the person who
has pledged the shares that the letter of pledge has been cancelled or return the
cancelled letter of pledge, depending on the practice of the individual bank; however,
it will be necessary to transfer “ownership” of the shares from the nominee company
to the name of the beneficial owner of the shares.

A bank discharges a standard security by executing a discharge of standard security


which is prepared by the solicitors instructed to act for the bank and sometimes is
contained on the reverse of the standard security deed itself. The standard security
and the discharge will be placed with the other title deeds relating to the property, all
of which are returned to the customer.

If the standard security has been granted by a company and is therefore disclosed
on the company’s Register of Charges with the Registrar of Companies, it is usual for
the Registrar to be notified that the charge has been discharged or satisfied. Similarly,
when a bond and floating charge is no longer required by a bank, it is usual for the
Registrar of Companies to be notified by means of a Memorandum of Satisfaction
which is completed by the company and, in the case of a bond and floating charge,
certified by the bank and then lodged with the Registrar. There is no time limit for
lodging a memorandum of satisfaction after it has been completed.
206 Banking Operations

Question time 10
1 What attributes of a good security can be found in a guarantee?

2 What is the difference between direct security and third party security?

3 What underlying factors should a banker consider when offered a pledge of marketable securities?
Securities for Advances 207

4 What is endowment assurance?

5 How is a pledge of marketable securities discharged?

Check your answers at the back of the book.


208 Banking Operations

Review

Now consider the main learning points which were introduced in this chapter.
Go through them and tick each one when you are happy that you fully understand
each point.
Then check back to the objectives at the beginning of the chapter and match them to
the learning points.
Reread any section you are unsure of before moving on.

A bank takes security to guard against any unforeseen circumstances which


may affect the customer’s ability to repay an advance. ■
Direct security is security granted by the borrower for their own obligations
whereas third party security is provided by someone other than the borrower
but is available for the borrower’s obligations. ■
The attributes of a good security are: simplicity of title, stability of value
and realisability. ■
A guarantee is an undertaking by one party to answer for the debt or default
of another person. ■
A standard security is the only document that can be used to secure debt
against heritable property in Scotland. It contains a personal obligation
as an undertaking by the grantor of the security to repay all monies due
by the grantor to the bank, whether due at the time the security is granted
or to become due at any time in the future. The security is completed by
recording it in the Land Registry. ■
A life policy is a contract to pay a cash sum on the occurrence of a specified
event or the elapse of an agreed period of time in return for the payment of
a premium. To take it as security requires the completion of an assignation. ■
To take security over marketable securities requires the completion of a letter
of pledge and the transfer of the securities into the bank’s nominee company. ■
A bond and floating charge can only be granted by a company and
the charge does not attach to any particular company asset. ■
A customer granting security of a cash deposit will sign a letter of pledge. ■
Often all that is required to discharge security is for the bank to confirm
in writing that it is no longer looking to the item of security for the
obligations of the customer. ■
Securities for Advances 209

Key words in this chapter are given below. There is space to


write your own revision notes and to add any other words or
phrases that you want to remember.

direct security

third party security

simplicity of title

stability of value

realisability

undue influence

standard security

postponed securities

ranking agreement

endowment policy

term assurance

whole life policy

life assured

nominal value

market value

letter of pledge

memorandum of satisfaction
210 Banking Operations

Multiple choice questions 8


Try these self-test questions to assess your understanding of what you have read in this chapter.
The answers are at the back of the book.

1 The main type of security taken in respect of a residential mortgage advance is which one of the
following?

A mortgage indemnity guarantee

B assignation of life policies

C bond and floating charge

D standard security

2 Security granted by the borrower for his own obligations is known as which one of the following?

A direct security

B indirect security

C primary security

D personal covenant

3 Which one of the following is not an attribute of good security for a debt?

A simplicity of title

B stability of value

C tangibility

D realisability

4 Which one of the following types of security provides the bank with no security rights or asset
with which it can deal?

A stocks and shares

B personal guarantee

C residential home

D bond and floating charge


Securities for Advances 211

Multiple choice questions 8


5 Which one of the following is most likely to affect a bank’s right to realise its security in the form
of a residential property?

A where the property is subject to an interest only loan with a life policy assigned to the lender

B where the borrower is using the property for business purposes

C where the property has been let out to a tenant

D where the borrower has vacated the property

6 In order to ensure that a guarantor completely understands the implications of the personal
guarantee, which one of the following actions should the bank take?

A advise the guarantor to discuss the matter with the principal borrower

B advise the guarantor to seek independent financial advice

C advise the guarantor to seek independent legal advice

D explain all provisions of the guarantee if asked to do so

7 In order to make the insurance company aware of an assignation, which one of the following
steps is taken by the bank?

A the bank intimates assignation to the insurance company

B the bank accepts a pledge by the borrower

C the bank registers the assignation at the Land Registry

D the bank registers the assignation at the Register of Sasines

8 In which one of the following instances would a ranking agreement be effected?

A when entering into an unsecured loan

B when postponing a prior charge

C when preparing a report of title

D when registering a charge at the Register of Sasines

9 Within what period of time must a charge granted by a company be registered with the Registrar
of Companies?

A seven days

B fourteen days

C twenty-one days

D twenty-eight days
212 Banking Operations

Multiple choice questions 8


10 The market value of shares is an indication of which one of the following?

A the actual value of the company’s assets

B the future financial prospects of the company

C the demand of investors for the shares

D the book value of the company

11 When taking security by way of company shares, the shares are transferred to which one of the
following?

A a nominee company

B the bank

C the bank’s solicitors

D the Registrar of Companies

12 Which one of the following possesses all of the attributes of a good security?

A a residential property

B a cash deposit

C listed shares

D bond and floating charge


213

Answers to Question time

Question time 1
1 The bank has a duty of confidentiality to all its customers and Mrs Williams’s
request should be politely declined, but there is nothing to prevent her from making
a lodgement to her son’s account if she so desires.
2 If a bank wishes to take recovery action against one of its customers, it is often
necessary to instruct solicitors or recovery agents who have to be advised of the
amount of the customer’s debt and any other information about the customer the
bank may have. Similarly, if the bank is to be granted security by the customer and
it is necessary to instruct solicitors to act on the bank’s behalf, details of the
borrowing facilities that are to be afforded to the customer will have to be divulged.
There are several other instances.
3 The banker is more than a mere custodian of his or her customers’ money. This
term implies that the customer will receive the same notes and coins as were
originally paid in whereas when money is paid in, it is used by the bank for the
purposes of its business and the bank undertakes an obligation to repay an
equivalent amount.
4 A customer must make suitable provision for any cheques they issue and must
draw their cheques in regular form and exercise due care not to facilitate forgery or
conversion.
5 The Banking Code is a voluntary code which sets out minimum standards of good
banking practice. Its aims are to ensure that banks act fairly and reasonably in their
dealings with customers, that everything possible is done to ensure that customers
understand how their accounts operate, and to recognise that systems and
technology need to be reliable to protect their customers and themselves.

Question time 2
1 Savings is retained income – surplus funds that have been set aside for a purpose
– whereas investment is when the set-aside funds are expected to grow or to provide
income. The return on savings comes from interest, the returns from investments
can be dividend and/or capital growth. Savings are risk free, but the value of
investments can fall as well as rise.
2 A high interest cheque account normally pays a higher rate of interest than an
interest paying current account, but there may be restrictions on the number of
transactions that can be made on a high interest cheque account and a minimum
amount for which a cheque may be drawn, whereas customers have unrestricted
access to funds in an interest paying current account and will not normally incur
any charges unless the account becomes overdrawn. There is normally a minimum
creditor balance that must be maintained in a high interest cheque account,
otherwise normal current account conditions will apply.
3 A standing order is a signed authority given by a customer to a bank, instructing
the bank to make regular payments from the customer’s account to a specified
party (or to another account in name of the customer) at stated times for a stated
period or until further notice.
214 Banking Operations

Direct debits are similar to standing orders in a number of ways, but the important
difference is that, rather than the customer’s bank remitting the payment to the
beneficiary’s bank, the beneficiary instigates the debit and advises the customer’s
bank of the amount involved. Direct debits are becoming more popular than
standing orders.
4 A contract note is issued by a stockbroker and contains details of securities
purchased or sold on behalf of the customer. Details of the type and number of
securities bought or sold, the price, the commissions payable and the date on which
the transaction will settle appear on the contract note and then the relative sums
will be paid over.
5 It is common for an executor to be appointed in terms of the will of a deceased
person, but if the will fails to nominate an executor or the deceased died intestate
(without making a will) an executor can be appointed by the court on application.
6 This service is normally offered through a specialist subsidiary company of a bank
and involves the managing of shares held by a customer. This can involve the
organisation buying or selling shares on behalf of the customer, having first of all
agreed an investment strategy.

Question time 3
1 All parties liable for an obligation are each liable for the full amount of the
obligation; for example, if a bank account is £10,000 overdrawn and there are two
parties to the account, if the parties are jointly and severally liable, the bank could
look to either party for the full £10,000.
2 If Mr Wilson and his wife have purchased the shop and intend operating the shop
together then, in the eyes of the law, they are in partnership. It is not essential for
Mr and Mrs Wilson to enter into a contract of co-partnery, but it will be necessary
for a partnership mandate to be provided to the bank. The customers should also
advise the bank of the name of the firm and the cheque book should also disclose
the firm’s name in order to comply with the Business Names Act.
3 Limited liability describes the liability of a shareholder of a company for the debts
of the company. A shareholder is only personally liable for the debts of the company
in which he or she holds shares to the extent of any money still to be paid to the
company in respect of the shares.
4 Under normal circumstances, directors of a company are not personally liable for
the company’s debts. If the directors are also shareholders, they will be liable for
the company’s debts only to the extent of sums due but not paid in respect of the
shares issued to them
5 The basic rule in Clayton’s case is that the first payment into a bank account is
withdrawn by the first withdrawal and the first debit to an account is repaid by the
first lodgement. This is an important principle for bankers, especially in the event of the
bank wishing to preserve the liability of a party to an overdrawn bank account.
6 The main danger to a bank in lending to a curling club, or any other type of
unincorporated body, is that they have no legal personality and can only raise an
action or be sued in name of the members. In practice it will be difficult for the
banker to establish that individual members are personally liable for repayment of
the overdraft in the event of club funds not being sufficient.
7 Table A is the specimen set of Articles of Association contained within each
Companies Act.
215

Question time 4
1 The bank should make payment to the confirmed executor(s) of the deceased who
should exhibit confirmation in his favour to the bank. The confirmation should
have annexed to it an inventory of the deceased’s estate. Before making payment,
the bank should make a note of the details of the confirmation, including details of
the bank account and any other effects held by the bank, all as detailed in the
inventory.
2 The lodging of an arrestment in the hands of a bank would prevent the person
named in the arrestment access to the funds in their account which will be attached.
3 If the customer’s salary is mandated to the bank, the name of the customer’s
employer and the current level of their salary will be known. By taking a note of the
standing orders and direct debits on the account, the banker will be aware of the
customer’s regular commitments. The names of the payees of cheques and/or card
payments issued by the customer will let the banker see how the customer is
spending their money. This is particularly useful in the case of business customers.
4 It is necessary for the bank to give the customer reasonable notice of its intention to
close the account. There is a danger in the bank remitting the outstanding creditor
balance to the customer as there could be outstanding cheques/debits and the
banker would be on dangerous ground in refusing to pay such cheques as the
customer did have funds to meet the cheques when they were issued. The correct
procedure would be for the bank to advise the customer that it is the bank’s wish
that the account be closed. The customer should be requested not to issue any
further cheques and to draw a cheque for the outstanding balance on the account.
5 The banker can see whether or not the facilities provided to the customer are still
required at the current level. It will also be possible to compare the transactions on
the account with the projections and the cash flow forecast provided by the
customer at the time the facilities were originally requested or at the last review. It
is also possible to check that the customer is not misusing the facilities, although
this should be apparent from regular monitoring of the account.
6 The basic rule is that the first lodgement to an account is withdrawn by the first
withdrawal from the account and the first debit to an account is repaid by the first
lodgement. For example, if a firm’s current account is overdrawn to the extent of
£50,000 and the bank is advised that one of the partners of the firm has resigned,
the bank must stop operations on the firm’s account if it wishes to preserve the
retiring partner’s liability to the bank. If operations are not stopped, once the sum
of £50,000 has been lodged to the account, even if, as a result of further debits to the
account the overdraft remains at £50,000, the £50,000 liability of the retiring partner
will have been repaid and the £50,000 then outstanding will be a “different” £50,000
from the sum outstanding at the time the bank was made aware of the resignation.
7 First of all, as it is one of the bank’s primary duties to its customers to pay cheques
issued by them provided that there are sufficient funds to meet the cheque, the
banker should take all reasonable steps to make sure that there are definitely
insufficient funds to enable the cheque to be paid. Before returning the cheque the
banker should consider what effect dishonouring the cheque will have on the
customer’s business and its relationship with its suppliers and/or customers,
especially if the bank is making facilities available to the customer, repayment of
which depends largely on the ongoing business activities. In addition, careful
consideration must be given to cheques in respect of the rental of the customer’s
business premises or for the purchase or rental of essential business equipment.
216 Banking Operations

8 The authority of a banker to pay cheques drawn by a customer ceases as soon as


the banker receives notice of the customer’s death, therefore the cheque should be
returned unpaid with answer “Drawer Deceased”. Payment of the outstanding
creditor balance will be paid over by the bank to the confirmed executor(s) of the
customer, or, if the estate is small, the bank may be willing to make payment against
a discharge and guarantee by the executor or the deceased’s survivors.
9 If someone dies leaving a will they are said to have died testate, but if they die
without leaving a will they have died intestate.

Question time 5
1 The Cheques Act 1992 provided for crossed cheques and certain other types of
cheque to be non-transferable which means that they cannot be accepted for credit
of any account other than an account in name of the named payee of the cheque.
2 It should be explained to the customer that cheques lodged for payment are not
regarded by the bank as being cleared funds until sufficient time has elapsed for
the bank to be certain that the cheques have been paid by the bank on which they
have been drawn. If the customer has drawn cheques against funds that are not
regarded as cleared funds, the customer will be liable for deferment interest.
3 Notice of a customer’s death terminates a banker’s authority to pay the customer’s
cheques. The cheque drawn by the customer on their own account should therefore
be returned unpaid with the answer “Drawer Deceased”. Cheques issued by a
company and signed by a director are not affected by the death of the director.
Similarly, cheques issued by a firm and signed by a partner can still be paid
notwithstanding the death of the partner. The cheques drawn by Avis Electronics
Limited and the firm of Evergreen Electronics can therefore be paid, provided of
course there are no other reasons why the cheques should not be paid, such as
insufficient funds.
4 It is not unlawful for cheques to be written in pencil, but banks actively discourage
such a practice as such cheques can easily be altered.
5 When a customer of a bank lodges to their account a cheque drawn on another
bank or another branch of the same bank, the amount involved is credited to the
customer’s account immediately. When the account is credited, however, neither
the customer nor the bank know whether or not the cheque will be paid when it is
presented through the clearing system to the bank on which it is drawn. It will take
several days for the cheque to “clear” and during this time the amount credited to
the bank account is regarded as uncleared funds or uncleared effects. Often
customers will not be permitted to draw their own cheques against uncleared funds.
In the event of their being permitted to do so, they can be charged deferment interest
if, as result of the issue of cheques, the cleared balance on the account is overdrawn.
6 The cheque can be returned unpaid as the banker has until close of business on the
day that a cheque is presented through the clearing system to decide whether or
not the cheque will be paid. It would be prudent of course to confirm the serial
number of the cheque and to arrange to have the stop request confirmed in writing
as soon as possible, preferably before the cheque was returned.
7 When collecting cheques for one of its customers, the bank is exposed to the danger
that it may collect a cheque to which its customer has no title. The bank is protected
by statute in such circumstances and will not be liable to the true owner of the
cheque provided the bank acts in good faith and without negligence and acts for a
customer.
217

Peter Hyde is clearly a customer, but the bank may be regarded as being negligent
if it is not put on enquiry by what are clearly transactions on an account which are
incompatible with the circumstances of the customer. There may of course be a
legitimate reason behind the lodgement of such a large cheque and the issue of a
similarly large cheque, but the banker must make enquiries to be satisfied that this
is the case. There will also be considerations to be made to the anti-money
laundering regulations regarding this lodgement which should have been
discussed with the customer.

Question time 6
1 The main difference between a credit card and a charge card is that, while with a
credit card the customer has the option of paying off only part of the sums due in
terms of the monthly statement (normally a minimum of 3 - 5%), in the case of a
charge card the whole outstanding balance must be cleared monthly.
2 Provided a cardholder pays off the whole balance due to the credit card company,
they will not be charged any interest. Statements are issued monthly by the credit
card company and do not require to be settled until 21 days after the date of the
statement. It could be that a cardholder will make a purchase using their card, and
by the time the transaction has been advised to the credit card company the cut-off
date for the next statement may just have passed. From that date it could therefore
be another 31 days before the purchases appear on the cardholder’s statement and
21 days after that before the cardholder is required to make payment. It can be
possible for the customer to enjoy interest-free credit for a period of up to 56 days,
sometimes even longer.
3 The customer is issued with a Switch debit card to be presented to the retailer who
swipes the card through a terminal. The customer will input their PIN to a keypad
and the transaction is completed. The Switch system then automatically debits the
customer’s account at their bank and credits the retailer’s account with their bank.
4 Clearing House Automated Payment System which sends same day value
payments from one member bank to another.

Question time 7
1 An arrangement fee is often charged by a bank to cover the costs in arranging the
facility. There are also costs involved in meeting with the customer to discuss the
facility and in the lending proposition being analysed, sanctioned and having the
appropriate documentation prepared.
2 Any decision by a bank to lend money to one of its customers will depend on its
view of the customer’s present and future ability to repay the advance from the
customer’s own resources. Although consideration will be given to the need for
security and in many cases security will be desirable, it should not be regarded as
an alternative source of repayment; rather it is put in place to provide a safety net
against some unforeseen future events.
3 A cash flow forecast is useful as it can let the banker see that the correct level of
advance has been requested and will also demonstrate how the advance will be
repaid and the timing of receipts and outflows of cash from the business.
4 The main points that should be considered are:
• the character, means, financial acumen and ability of the borrower
• the soundness of the lending proposition
218 Banking Operations

• the security available


• the viability of the proposed repayment arrangements, including how realistic
or conservative are the projections and forecasts provided by the borrower
• the interest, fees and charges that will be paid to the bank to determine whether
the lending proposition is profitable for the bank.
5 There are two areas of importance:
• if the customer has had difficulty making payment to the line provider, this will
be reflected in some adverse credit information on the customer
• if the loan is sanctioned and falls into arrears, having the customer’s phone
number will make it easier for the bank to make contact.
6 A capital or equity release loan is a loan that is made available to house owners
who have a reversion on their property which means that the value of the
borrower’s property is significantly in excess of the outstanding house purchase
loan. A borrower can borrow a percentage of the reversion or equity on the property
by means of an equity release loan. If the bank granting the loan is not the same
bank as granted the house purchase loan, it will be necessary for the customer to
grant a second charge over the property in favour of the bank.
A bridging loan is made available usually in connection with house purchases and
bridges the gap between the time when a customer has to make payment for a
property that they have purchased and the time when the sale proceeds for the
property that has just been sold are received.
7 The banker will have a good idea of the customer’s level of salary and the name of
the customer’s employer, particularly if the salary is mandated to the bank. The
standing orders, direct debits and regular payments made from the account will
reveal the customer’s spending pattern and regular commitments. The banker will
also be able to see the name of the customer’s mortgage lender and have a rough
idea of the amount of house purchase loan that has been made available.

Question time 8
Example 1:
Proposer James Robertson
Beneficiary James Robertson
Life Assured James Robertson
Type of Assurance Endowment

Example 2:
Proposer Graeme Jackson
Beneficiary Colin Jackson
Life Assured Colin Jackson
Type of Assurance Endowment

Example 3:
Proposer Graeme Jackson
Beneficiary Graeme Jackson
Life Assured Probably Janice Jackson but it could also be Graeme Jackson
Type of Assurance Endowment
219

Example 4:
Proposer William Ross
Beneficiary Helen Ross
Life Assured William Ross
Type of Assurance Term assurance

Example 5:
Proposer Robert Jones
Beneficiary Fiona Jones
Life Assured Robert Jones
Type of Assurance Whole life

Question time 9
1 A bank can surrender a life policy at any time in the event of the customer being
unable to meet their obligations and can therefore obtain funds immediately rather
than having to hold the policy and maintain the premiums until maturity. This
would also result in there being higher interest payments debited to the customer’s
account. However, the surrender value will often be considerably less than the
maturity value.
2 Notwithstanding the value of the property, it is advisable from the point of view of
both the bank and the customers for the bank to be granted an assignation of life
cover on the joint lives of James and Fiona. Without an assignation of life cover, in
the event of James dying, the only way that the bank can be repaid would be for the
house to be sold. This is a course of action that both the bank and the customers
would wish to avoid, especially if it entailed the bank entering into possession of
the property.

Question time 10
1 The attributes of a good security are:
• simplicity of title
• stability of value
• realisability.
A guarantee can be constituted easily and cheaply, therefore it is fair to say that the
attribute simplicity of title is present in a guarantee. It is of course the case that a
guarantee will normally be for a certain sum, but this should not be confused with
stability of value as the value of the guarantee is dependent on the means of the
guarantor, particularly in the case of unsupported guarantees. With regard to
realisability, it is often said that a guarantee is the easiest item of security to
constitute but often the most difficult to realise. Unless the guarantor is willing and
able to settle their guarantee obligation or agree repayment arrangements, it may
prove necessary for the bank to take recovery action against the guarantor and to
take steps to realise any supporting security.
2 Direct security is security granted by the borrower for their own obligations,
whereas third party security is provided by someone other than the borrower but
is available for the obligations of the borrower.
3 The banker should consider whether or not the current value of the shares provide
an adequate margin to cater for fluctuations in the price(s) of the shares. It is worth
considering whether or not the shares offered represent a wide and balanced
portfolio of shares or if they are predominantly in one or two companies.
220 Banking Operations

4 In return for the payment of premiums, endowment assurance will entitle the
policyholder to be paid an assured sum on survival for a stated period or on earlier
death. The policyholder will also be entitled to a share in the profits made by the
life assurance company.
5 The banker will advise the person who has pledged the shares that the letter of
pledge has been cancelled or will return the cancelled letter of pledge to the
customer. Arrangements will also be made to transfer the shares pledged from the
name of the bank’s nominee company back into the name of the true owner of the
shares.
221

Answers to Multiple choice


questions
Multiple choice questions 1 Multiple choice questions 5
1 B 6 B 1 C 6 B
2 C 7 C 2 B 7 D
3 A 8 D 3 B 8 C
4 D 4 C
5 C 5 C

Multiple choice questions 2 Multiple choice questions 6


1 C 8 C 1 D
2 D 9 D 2 B
3 A 10 A 3 B
4 C 11 C 4 D
5 A 12 C
6 D 13 C Multiple choice questions 7
7 C 1 C 6 D
2 B 7 B
Multiple choice questions 3 3 C
1 B 9 D 4 C
2 D 10 B 5 C
3 D 11 D
4 B 12 A Multiple choice questions 8
5 A 13 D 1 D 7 A
6 C 14 C 2 A 8 B
7 D 15 B 3 C 9 C
8 C 4 B 10 C
5 C 11 A
Multiple choice questions 4 6 C 12 B
1 B 6 D
2 C 7 C
3 B 8 D
4 B 9 A
5 C
222 Banking Operations
223

Glossary

Articles of Association Document setting out the internal rules of a limited


company.

Arrangement fee A charge made by a bank to cover the costs involved in


arranging and agreeing a loan.

Arrestment An order served on the bank compelling it to hold funds


held to the credit of the customer named in the
arrestment as attached for the benefit of the party on
whose behalf the arrestment has been lodged.

Automatic Call Distribution A routing system for calls once they arrive at a telephone
(ACD) centre.

Automated telephone service The service offered to a customer when they telephone
an organisation and are greeted by a recorded message
offering them some service options.

Bank giro credit A credit transfer form used by customers for making
non-automated payments to accounts domiciled at a
branch or bank other than the branch where the
customer’s account is held.

Banking Code A voluntary code that sets standards of good banking


practice for financial services firms to follow.

Basic bank account An account which offers the customer a basic range of
money transmission facilities. A plastic card will be
provided to facilitate withdrawals of cash at an ATM.
Automated payments can also be credited to the account.

Bond and floating charge A security that can only be granted by a company. The
charge does not attach to any particular company asset.

Bridging loan A (usually) short term loan used when a customer has to
make a large purchase before the receipt of funds for a
large scale purchase. Normally associated with house
purchase transactions when the customer is required to
pay for their new home before receiving the sale
proceeds from their old home.

Call up notice A notice issued by a bank after the default notice; only
issued when the bank is holding security. Its purpose is
to call up the security, not the debt.

Canons of lending The principles of credit assessment.

Cash flow projection A statement showing how much cash the customer has
presently, what their projected income and expenditure
will be and therefore how much cash they will have at
the end of the period.
224 Banking Operations

Certificate of Incorporation Certificate issued by the Registrar of Companies when a


new limited company is founded and complies with the
regulations as set out in the Companies Acts.

CHAPS Clearing House Automated Payment System – an


electronic credit transfer system for sending same day
value sterling payments from one member bank to
another.

Cheque guarantee card A plastic card issued by a bank to trustworthy current


account holders which will guarantee the payment of
cheques up to a certain amount.

Clayton’s case The rule whereby the first credit to an account eliminates
the oldest debit.

Collections department A specialist department in a bank which seeks to obtain


repayment from certain irregular accounts. The aim of
the collections process is to bring the account back on to
a regular footing, whilst preserving the long term
relationship with the customer.

Countermanding The placing of a stop payment instruction from a


customer.

Covenant Conditions imposed on a customer when obtaining a


loan; usually set out in a loan agreement.

Credit scoring A statistical means of assessing the probability of


repayment of credit for an individual or small business
who supplies specific data when applying for credit.

Crystallisation of a floating When a bank appoints a receiver the bond and floating
charge charge attaches specifically to the assets owned by the
company at the time.

Current account Sometimes referred to as money transmission accounts,


as they are used to deposit and withdraw funds, usually
on a frequent basis. Operated usually by a plastic card
and cheque book. Will normally pay some amount of
interest on credit balances, debit interest is charged on
overdrawn balances.

Customer profiling An activity where the bank finds out as much


information as possible about a customer’s
circumstances, their background and aspirations. This
information is then used to match the most suitable
products and services to the customer.

Default notice A notice served by a bank to a defaulting customer,


explaining to the customer that they have breached the
terms of their credit agreement.

Deferment interest Interest charged to a customer when they have drawn


against uncleared effects.
225

Direct debit A signed authority from a customer to the bank,


authorising them to accept payments from a named
beneficiary who instigates the debit and advises the bank
of the amount involved.

Direct security Security granted by a borrower against their own debts.

Equity release loan A lower cost loan of up to a certain percentage of the


equity in a customer’s home provided that the bank is
granted security over the property.

Executor Someone who is appointed to ensure that the wishes of


a deceased person, as set out in his or her will, are carried
out.

Guarantee An undertaking by one party to answer for the debt or


default of another person.

Hard core borrowing The situation where an overdraft does not swing into
credit. The hard core element is the amount of the lowest
overdrawn balance.

High interest cheque account An account that allows the customer to have instant
access to their funds but with restrictions on the number
of cheques that may be issued in a given period and
cheques may require to be for not less than a stated
amount.

House cheque A cheque that has been drawn on the same branch of the
bank as the one where the payee is making the
lodgement.

Individual Savings Account A tax-free savings account, offered to UK residents aged


(ISA) 18 and over (aged 16 and over for a cash ISA). There are
maximum amounts which may be deposited in any one
tax year. It is possible to have cash and equity ISAs.

Interest only mortgage A mortgage which has no repayments of any capital at


all during the life of the loan. The payment made by the
customer to the lender only covers the interest accruing
on the loan.

Intestate Where a person has died without leaving a will.

Investment account A higher interest paying account which has a minimum


qualifying balance, a period of notice of withdrawal and
a restriction on the number of withdrawals.

Irrevocable mandate A letter addressed to the solicitors acting for the


customers in a (house) sale who will undertake to pass
the sale proceeds to the bank. Normally used to ensure a
bridging loan will be repaid.

Joint and several liability An arrangement between a bank and its customers
where there are more than two parties to the agreement.
The arrangement is that each party will be held liable
for the full amount of the debt.
226 Banking Operations

Life assurance A contract that provides payment on the death of an


insured but may also include payment on a specified
date should the insured survive until that date.

Limited company A business structure where the business has a separate


legal personality from its owners.

Memorandum of Association Document setting out the rules for a company’s dealings
with the outside world.

Money laundering The process by which the proceeds of crime are


converted into assets that seem to have a legitimate
origin.

Money transmission The transfer of money from one party to another,


normally from the receiver of goods and services to the
supplier of goods and services.

Negotiable instrument A document that can be negotiated for value and may
be passed from one party to another.

Nominee company A company set up specifically to hold shares pledged to


the bank.

Overdraft A negative balance on a current account. It may be


authorised or unauthorised.

Partnership A business structure where two or more people are


trading together in an attempt to make profits.

Personal loan A loan granted to a personal customer for a fixed period


of time to assist with the purchase of a range of items.

Recoveries department A specialist department of a bank which deals with


irregular accounts after the collections department have
concluded their activities with these customers and the
account is still irregular. The aim of a recoveries
department is to collect the debt whilst severing the
relationship with the customer.

Referral fee A charge levied by a bank when items are presented


against a customer’s account with will either create an
unauthorised overdraft or exceed an agreed overdraft
limit. These charges are intended to cover the cost to the
bank of reviewing the customer’s account and deciding
whether or not to pay or return the item(s).

Repayment mortgage A mortgage that requires the borrower to repay part of


the capital borrowed and an interest payment charged
on that capital every time an instalment is made. The
balance of the account should be zero by the end of the
loan period.

Scorecard The set of points used when credit scoring an


application.
227

Shareholder The owner (or part owner) of a limited company who


has invested money in the company by purchasing
shares.

Sole trader A person carrying on business on their own.

Stale cheque A cheque that has been in circulation for what is


considered an unreasonably long time. The practice in
Scotland is for banks to regard cheques more that six
months old as being stale.

Standard security The only document that can be used to secure debt
against heritable property in Scotland.

Standing order A signed authority given by a customer to a bank


instructing the bank to make regular payments from the
customer’s account to a specified party at stated times
for a stated period or until further notice.

Term loan A loan usually granted to business customers to assist


them in buying assets such as plant and machinery
where the cost involved would make it inappropriate
for the borrowing to be added to the overdraft facility
which should be used for working capital purposes.

Testate Where a person has died leaving a will.

Third party payment A payment made by a customer, through their financial


services provider, to another person.

Third party security Security provided by someone other than the borrower
but that is available for the borrower’s obligations.

Truncation The removal of the obligation to send cheques back to


the relevant branch of the paying bank. When a cheque
is truncated it is retained at some point in the clearing
process.

Trustee A person who has been trusted to hold and administer


property or assets for the benefit of others.

Uncleared effects The proceeds of cheques that have not yet been paid by
the drawee bank; in other words, the cheques are still in
the clearing system.

Undue influence The situation where a stronger party, as a matter of law


or provable from prevailing circumstances, induces a
weaker party to enter into a contract where he or she
would not otherwise do so.
228 Banking Operations
229

Index

A
Adults with Incapacity (Scotland) Act 2000 105
Age of Legal Capacity (Scotland) Act 1991 64
Annual percentage rate (APR) 172, 173
Anti-money laundering regulations 58, 59 - 61, 80, 88
Arrangement fee 104, 154, 160
Arrestment 92, 97, 102, 124
Articles of Association 70, 72, 74, 80
Assignation of a life policy 183, 196 - 199
ATM 31, 37, 38, 46, 104, 129, 143, 145
– loan 38
Attachment of funds 118 - 119
Attributes of a good security 181, 182, 184 - 186, 201, 204, 208
Automatic Call Distribution (ACD) 139 - 140, 149
B
Bank
– giro credit 35, 36, 39, 40 - 41, 50, 122, 141
– of England Act 1998 9
– services 25 - 52,138
Banker/customer relationship 7 - 22, 145
Banker’s duties 11
Bankers Books Evidence Act 1879 13
Banking
– Act 1987 9
– Code 7, 8, 16 - 18, 21, 93, 104
Bankrupt 102, 117, 124, 133, 182, 184
Bankruptcy and Diligence, etc (Scotland) Act 2007 102
Basic account 31
Bills of Exchange Act 1882 8, 114, 119, 120, 123
Bond and floating charge 103, 182, 183, 203 - 204, 205, 208
Borrower 33, 34, 154, 155 - 156, 157, 166, 167, 171, 176, 183, 184, 188, 190, 193, 194, 195, 204, 208
Bridging loan 170
Business
– Banking Code 18
– customers 18, 28, 65 - 77, 170
C
Canons of lending 155 - 160
Capital release 34, 96, 169
Cash 28, 30, 31, 33, 35, 36 - 38, 39, 43, 46, 63, 104, 114, 118, 119, 120, 127, 143, 145, 158, 159, 167,
171, 181, 184, 186, 196, 204, 208
– deposit 16, 33, 181, 183, 204, 205, 208
– flow 97, 147, 157, 158, 159, 182
– withdrawal 31, 37
Cautioner 187
CHAPS 41, 144, 149
Charge
– card 35, 46, 147
– for credit 172
Cheques 8, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 21, 28, 29, 31, 32, 33, 35, 36, 38 - 39, 41, 63, 67, 89, 92, 93, 98, 99,
108, 113 - 134, 143, 146, 158, 162, 195
Cheques Act 1957 114, 119, 120, 125
Cheques Act 1992 114, 118, 119, 120, 127
230 Banking Operations

Chip and PIN 28, 143


Civil Partnership Act 2004 193
Clayton’s case 68 - 69, 80, 194
Clearing cheques 127 - 130, 133
Closing accounts 92 - 93
Clubs, associations and societies 58, 75 - 76
Collecting banker 113, 114, 121, 125 - 127
Collections and recoveries 87, 98, 100 - 105
Companies Act 1985 13, 73, 74
Companies Act 1989 13, 74
Confidentiality 12, 188
Consumer Credit Act 100, 101, 171 - 173, 176
Control of accounts 96 - 100
Covenant 170
Conveyancing and Feudal Reform (Scotland) Act 1970 191, 192
Credit
– assessment 153, 160, 161, 163
– card 35, 41, 46, 47, 61, 143, 144 - 147, 149, 161, 162, 173
– risk 161, 162
– scoring 34, 96, 145, 153, 156, 160 - 163, 176
Creditor 11, 66, 67, 68, 91, 102, 103, 145, 171, 172, 182, 184, 187
Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 1987 13
Criminal Justice Act 1987 13
Crossed cheques 118, 119 - 120
Current
– account mortgage 169
– accounts 16, 28 - 31, 50, 58, 103, 104, 108
Customer
– accounts 30, 58, 80, 87 - 109
– profiling 88
Customer’s
– death 87, 88, 94 - 95, 108, 123, 124
– duties 14 - 15
Customers 8, 11, 12, 18, 21, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 40, 42, 43, 45, 46, 50, 57 - 81, 87,
88, 89, 96, 98, 99, 100, 102, 104, 108, 114, 115, 120, 125, 128, 129, 138, 139, 141, 142,
147, 149, 154, 156, 158, 159, 160, 161, 162, 163, 169, 170, 173, 176, 202

Daily report 97
Data
– Protection Acts 1984 and 1998 61 - 63
– subject 61, 62, 63
Death of a customer 87, 88, 94 - 95, 108, 123, 124
Debit card 29, 35, 38, 41, 46, 61, 94, 138, 143, 162
Debtor 11, 33, 91, 145, 164, 171, 172, 187
Default notice 100, 101
Deferment interest 128
Direct
– and third party security 181
– banking 138, 149, 160
– debit 28, 31, 35, 36, 39 - 40, 41, 50, 94, 96, 101, 140, 142, 147, 149, 159, 199
– security 183 - 184, 199, 204, 208
Discharge of security 181, 205
Disclosure 12 - 13, 14, 18, 21, 60, 62
Drawee 128
Drawer 38, 94, 114, 115 - 116, 117, 119, 121, 123, 124, 127, 133
Drug Trafficking Act 1994 13
Duty to the public to disclose 12, 13, 21
231

E
EFTPOS 143, 149
Electronic funds transfer 137, 143, 144
Equity release 34, 169
Executor and trustee services 26, 43 - 44
F
Family Law (Scotland) Act 2006 193
Financial Services
– and Markets Act 2000 9
– Authority (FSA) 9, 17, 21
Fluctuating overdrafts 195
Foreign currency 45, 46, 51
Forgery 124, 125
Formal review 99
G
Guarantee 71, 76, 95, 181, 183, 186 - 191, 193, 199, 204, 205, 208
H
High interest cheque account 31
HM Revenue and Customs 60, 66, 70
House purchase loan 34, 91, 165 - 169, 193, 195
I
Income and Corporation Taxes Act 1988 13
Incorporation 71 - 72, 80, 90
Individual Savings Account (ISA) 16, 32 - 33, 50, 166, 204
Insanity 124
Insolvency Act 1986 13
Insurance
– and assurance 25, 26, 44, 51
– Companies Act 1982 13
Interest only mortgage 166 - 167
Investment advice 10
Integrated Voice Response (IVR) 139, 140
Interest bearing/paying current account 31, 32, 39
Internet banking 31, 138, 142, 149
Investment
– accounts 25, 26, 27, 32, 58
– advice 25, 26, 41, 42 - 43
– and portfolio management 43
J
Joint account 58, 63, 64, 123
Joint(ly) and several(ly) liable/liability 64, 68, 71, 80, 89, 191
L
Lending 17, 26, 30, 71, 74, 76, 96, 142, 145, 153 - 177, 192, 193, 202
– facilities 25, 26, 33 - 34
– products 33, 142, 153, 164 - 171
– proposition 155, 157 - 159
Letter of pledge 203, 204, 205, 208
Limited
– companies 70, 71 - 75, 182
– liability partnership 70
M
Marketable securities 181, 183, 201 - 203, 205, 208
Matrimonial Homes (Family Protection) (Scotland) Act 1981 193
232 Banking Operations

Memorandum of Association 70, 72, 73, 74, 75, 80


Money
– laundering 59, 60, 80
– transmission 25, 26, 28, 31, 35 - 41, 50, 138, 142, 143
Muslim mortgage 168 - 169
N
Negotiable instrument 117, 118, 120
O
Online banking 137, 138 - 142
Opening accounts 88 - 90
Overdraft facilities 33, 75, 76, 90, 97, 99, 147, 162
Overdrafts 16, 30, 32, 33 - 34, 67, 93, 99, 159, 164 - 165, 171, 202
P
Part IV Permission procedures 9
Partnership 58, 65, 66 - 71, 75, 80, 90, 100
Payee 40, 41, 89, 99, 114, 115, 116, 118, 119, 120, 121, 122, 123, 126, 127, 128
Paying banker 113, 114, 121 - 125
Pensions Schemes Act 1993 13
Personal
– customers 16, 21, 28, 33, 45, 58 - 64, 65, 103, 161
– data 61, 62, 63
– loan 34, 50, 160, 164, 165, 176
– pension mortgage 167 - 168
Plastic
– and electronic banking 137 - 150
– card 14, 28, 30, 31, 32, 36, 37, 41, 45, 46, 51, 92, 103, 137, 138, 144
Postponed securities 194 - 195
Primary obligant 187
Principal debtor 187, 190
Private companies 71
Proceeds of Crime Act 1983 13
Public companies 71
R
Ranking agreement 195, 203
Realisability 185, 186, 208
Referral fee 29, 103
Relationship between banker and customer 11 - 15, 21
Remedial action 93, 98, 99 - 100, 165
Remuneration 155, 160, 176
Repayment 155, 157, 159, 161, 163, 165, 166, 167, 169, 170, 171, 176, 182, 184, 204
– mortgage 167
S
Safe custody 25, 26, 45, 94, 95
Savings
– accounts 32 - 33, 58
– and investment accounts 25, 26 - 28
Secrecy 12, 14, 21, 45
Securities for advances 181 - 209
Security 29, 30, 34, 37, 38, 50, 65, 72, 73, 76, 77, 91, 96, 101, 102, 140, 141, 142, 144, 155, 159, 169,
170, 176, 181, 182, 183, 184, 185, 186, 187, 189, 190, 191, 192, 194, 195, 198, 199, 201, 202,
204, 205, 208
Share dealing 25, 26, 41 - 42, 140, 141
Simplicity of title 185, 204, 208
Social Security Fraud Act 2001 13
Sole trader 58, 61, 65 - 66, 70, 75, 80
Stability of value 185 - 186, 201, 204, 208
233

Standard security 182, 191 - 196, 203, 204, 205, 208


Standing order 28, 31, 35, 39, 40, 41, 50, 63, 94, 96, 140, 141, 142, 149, 159, 199
Stocks and shares 27, 33, 141, 183, 187, 201
Surety 95, 187
T
Taxes Management Act 1986 13
Telephone banking 31, 35, 137, 139 - 141, 142, 149
Term loan 91, 159, 164, 165, 170 - 171, 176, 195
Terms and conditions 17, 129, 165, 170
Terrorism Act 2000 13
Third party
– payments 140, 141, 149
– security 181, 183 - 184, 187, 199, 208
Travel
– facilities 25, 26, 45 - 47, 51
– insurance 45, 46 - 47
Traveller’s cheques 45, 46, 51
Truncation 113, 120 - 121
Trustees 58, 76, 77
U
Undue influence 188, 189, 190
V
Value Added Tax Act 1983 13

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